After the first five rounds of the new United Rugby Championship campaign, the 16-team table has a pleasing look to Scottish eyes. Glasgow are second - behind leaders Leinster on points difference only - while Edinburgh are fifth.

Both Scottish teams have won four and lost one of the opening block of games, with the Warriors three points clear of the capital team thanks to their picking up extra bonus points. Sean Everitt, who only took over as Edinburgh’s senior coach in the close season, believes that Scotland’s failure to progress from the pool stage at the Rugby World Cup goes a long way to explaining the promising early form shown by both teams. 

“The disappointment of the World Cup would have added motivation to the players that are playing in the two franchises, no doubt,” the South African said yesterday. “That often happens.

“If a team does well in the World Cup, often those players come back with a bit of complacency. These guys have come home and they really want to feel part of a family and they want to taste a bit of success after the failure in the World Cup. 

“And they’re doing a tremendous job. Each and every one of the internationals that have come back have been worth their weight in gold. So it’s really pleasing that they have that attitude towards Edinburgh, and that matches what the club needs to be about.”

Given the Warriors finished fourth in the regular season last time round, as well as reaching the Challenge Cup final, we have come to expect a lot from Franco Smith’s squad. But Edinburgh are a different case: a lowly 12th last year, they had lost their sense of direction and appeared wedded to an open, attacking game plan that was no longer working for them in the way it had earlier on in Mike Blair’s tenure as head coach.

Given that background, Everitt has exceeded many people’s expectations in his early outings. Yet the coach himself insisted that he had not been surprised by his team’s good form.

“Not really with the group that we have and the preparation that they had prior to my arrival,” he continued. “There were a couple of things that we needed to sort out and I’m sure you’ll have noticed that game management was one of them and the guys are managing the game a hell of a lot better than they did. 

“And I think it shows that they want to learn and they want to get better - they’ve certainly shown that, although the results have been tight at the end. Hopefully that will help us later on in the competition when you get to knockout stages - if we make it there.

“But there has been a lot of learning. I just heard Jamie (Ritchie) chatting earlier: he said it’s a lot easier to learn when you’re winning than when you’re losing, and I think that’s the most important thing, that they get into the habit of winning.”

Edinburgh are at home to Benetton on Friday night, while Glasgow - who beat the previously-undefeated Italians last weekend - welcome Ulster to Scotstoun on Saturday. After that there is still another round of URC games and two of European competition to go before the 1872 Cup double-header, but Everitt is already keeping a close eye on the form of his compatriot Smith’s team. 

“They’ve done really well,” he added. “They’ve got a way of getting the ball over the try-line. They did that on Saturday night: quick throw-ins, quick taps, turnovers, tackle busts - they’re good at that. 

“They’re playing well at the moment, we’ve got to give them that. And they’ve got a strong maul, so they’re always going to be a threat to Edinburgh. They’re a threat in the competition and they did well to get to the European [final].

“Franco and I go back a long way. I remember him as a player, and coaching against him when he played against one of the local clubs in Durban. 

“We have chatted a couple of times since I’ve been here. He’s doing a good job at Glasgow and, as you can see, he had a major impact when he came. He was involved as a consultant with the Springboks at one stage and he was a front-runner for the coaching position there, so he’s a well-respected coach and done incredibly well.”

Asked if Smith had given him advice on how to cope with the Edinburgh job, he said: “No, he left me to find my own feet. I think that’s the South African way.”

Meanwhile, winger Darcy Graham’s return from a hip injury may now be delayed a week, from Edinburgh’s away game against Ulster on 2 December to their Challenge Cup tie at Clermont six days later. However, openside Hamish Watson is back training after being sidelined by a facial injury and will be available for selection  against Ulster.