RATHER like Edinburgh have grown back into Heineken Champions Cup rugby this season, so Jaco van der Walt has developed into the recognised stand-off at Murrayfield.

On Friday night, while prop WP Nel may have collected the sponsors' man-of-the-match award for his contribution – including one outrageous through-the-legs reverse pass – it was the 25-year-old South African’s assurance behind the scrum, especially with the boot, that steered Edinburgh into the last eight.

And, on reflection, perhaps this victory wasn’t the surprise to van der Walt that it was to some.

“We definitely always had belief,” he said, reaffirming the point. “Just look at the boys’ performance against Montpellier. We stuck in, and we really couldn’t have done it without the forward pack.

"We’re full of confidence at the moment. We just need to keep it and focus on the rest of the season.

“We took confidence, even from the game we lost in Montpellier.

"It’s not nice to lose your first game but we came back stronger, made progress and just focused on every game as it came.”

On Friday, van der Walt kicked four penalties and a superb conversion from Darcy Graham’s try to nail the French resistance.

“We knew Montpellier were big boys and that in the first 20 minutes they always come out hard. We just needed to get stuck in for the first 20 minutes and then start playing.

“Murrayfield is a lovely place to play, especially when the crowd is like it was on Friday night,” said van der Walt who has no preference for who the quarter-finals throw up.

"Whoever we get will be big, strong and physical.

"We just need to focus on our next job, go through the videos and do our homework. We need to treat the quarter-final as just another game and keep our confidence. If we do that, I think we’ll be good.”

Van der Walt had a superb match against Montpellier, despite some unwanted and unhelpful distractions. This came first in the shape of counterpart Johan Goosen, and secondly from the Murrayfield DJ/PA announcer who, despite the warning on the big screens to observe silence during kicks, was still blasting dance music as Jaco began his run up.

“I was quite nervous when I saw him coming through,” Jaco laughed, recalling the charging Goosen as he headed for him. “Luckily he dropped the ball so I was quite relieved.

“(But) I didn’t even hear the music. I’m just focused on the kick and then on running back to set and be ready for the kick-off.

"I just cut the music out and focus on the goal. It went well on Friday night, apart from that one miss.”

For someone who originally hails from Potchefstroom in the Cape, mixing it against the Springboks of Montpellier was something Van der Walt relished, especially against one of his heroes. That "local" association also proved handy for Edinburgh.

“There was some Afrikaans flying about out there. Me and Pierre (Schoeman) heard Frans Steyn speaking it to the other guys, and it was quite nice to be able to understand what they were saying.

"Obviously, I then told the boys next to me,” Jaco nodded.

When he (Steyn) played in the World Cup in 2007 I was 13. Playing against him for the first time on Friday night was quite nice. I actually wanted a photo afterwards, but I’m not going to be that guy.”

Van der Walt headed for "home" after the Montpellier match along with the rest of the Edinburgh squad, in advance of next weekend’s PRO14 meeting with the Southern Kings, much-needed respite from the rigours of the Scottish weather.

“I’m looking forward to that – going back home and seeing some sun. I’m excited for it.

"Before the game on Friday night, they said it might snow, and for South Africans who don’t see snow a lot it was quite nice.

“I don’t think you get used to the cold but, to be honest, you just need to forget about it.

"I actually wanted to play in my tracksuit on Friday!”