Calum MacRae, the new defence coach at Edinburgh, sees reasons for hope in the stubborn defiance of his players, even if he knows there is a long way to go on the technical side of things.

It is the players' devotion to the cause which gives the coach belief that they can continue to develop under Richard Cockerill.

"We want to be a team that is tough to play against, tough to beat. There were signs out there last week that we are becoming that," MacRae said.

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"The scramble defence was outstanding, that is how I gauge the attitude of the boys – how hard they are willing to work when things are a bit tougher. At times it was fantastic – but it needed to be. We were making last-ditch tackles and filling the field quickly after that. I am pleased, but we are far from perfect.

"It is purely down to attitude, if you are fully on board and desperate for the result then you will keep putting yourself into the defensive line and keep making tackles."

Rugby supporters with longer memories will recall that it was a similar mantra at Glasgow Warriors that launched them on the upward path a decade, or so, ago. MacRae and his fellow coaches clearly feel they can make the same strides in the east by tapping into the same stubborn streak.

After pushing the Scotland Sevens team to record heights, MacRae is a coach whose reputation is on the rise, and with his side having conceded only one try in winning their opening two matches, there might be a temptation to think he can bask in the glory of a job well done.

He is not thinking that way. As far as MacRae is concerned, the scramble defence is rescuing too many technical failures and he knows they have to improve fast if they are to challenge the top teams.

With Richard Cockerill's down-to-earth, no-nonsense coaching style and and obvious signs of new mental fortitude among the players, he sees no reason for thinking they won't make those improvements.

"We are not going to win every single game this year, we have to be realistic," MacRae admitted. "One of the things that we can expect from our players, though, is that they will go to the wall every single game.

"I hope we will continue to put in performances where we do get results and where, for the wins that we miss out on, everyone has bought into the fact that it is a team that will put absolutely everything out there for Edinburgh.

"It has been a positive start to the season – we got the wins we were looking for. Is it perfect at the moment? No, certainly not on the defensive side, my part of the game. They made more gains there than I would have liked against our strike defence, but we will adapt, learn from that."