EDINBURGH assistant coach Stevie Lawrie has admitted the team need to become more ruthless and efficient if they are to snap out of a poor sequence of early-season results.

Friday night’s 19-22 defeat at home to the Bulls was the capital club’s third loss in four United Rugby Championship matches, but in two of those three they have earned losing bonus points. In other words, rather than having a horrendous run of form, they are just a little bit short of their best.

Nonetheless, as they prepare to face Benetton at home on Saturday, Lawrie has explained that the theme for the week is the need to take chances when they arise in as clinical a manner as possible. “I think we’ve played some tough teams, for sure, but we’ve also reflected on how ruthless we can be,” he said. “Mike [Blair, the head coach] has spoken about it - what we’re controlling, and how we’re going to get ourselves over the line in these tight games.

“Because we had opportunities to win that game at the weekend, and we’ve just fallen short. We’re probably looking around our contact area and how physical we can be when we’re actually in the opposition finish zone, inside their 22 - how we can be more efficient or more ruthless.

“Look at Lions – three or four of the entries they got, they took their tries. It was probably just a little bit easy for them, whereas they made us work very hard for them. So credit to the Lions and to the other teams that we’ve played and lost to, but we recognise that we probably need to be more ruthless in what we’re doing.”

If Edinburgh needed a boost to their morale after that loss to the Lions, they certainly got one yesterday when Duhan van der Merwe trained with them for the first time since re-signing from Worcester last week. “He’s looking magic,” Lawrie said of the Scotland winger. “The boys are energised to have him and we’ve already had some comedy moments from him in a couple of meetings. He’s brought a bit of energy and a bit of fun.

“It’s great to have Duhan back in with the group. It creates a lot of competition within the back three, but also he brings his own energy and his own vibe. The boys really like him. I’m excited for him to be in the mix for selection this week.”

Meanwhile, winger Freddie Owsley has left Edinburgh “to pursue other playing opportunities”, according to the club’s website. The 25-year-old, who signed from Bristol Bears last year, scored two tries in three appearances.