RICHARD Cockerill is not the first Edinburgh coach to wonder what would happen if he could bottle the change in the players that comes when European rugby arrives in their season and see what happens if he poured it over them every weekend.

He may be new to the job this season but he knows the record which has seen the side put aside dire league form and at least reach the quarter finals in two of the last three seasons – going two better three years ago when they reached the European Challenge Cup final, only to lose out to a Gloucester side inspired by Greig Laidlaw, who had moved clubs only 12 months earlier.

“I think it’s a good competition for this team because they’ve done well in it, notwithstanding it’s still the second tier of Europe and we’re all striving to be in the main competition,” said Cockerill.

“Clearly for this club, one-off games have suited them and that’s why they’ve been better in cup competitions. I’m striving for consistency across the board. It’s a fresh competition and a challenge for us, a very short competition in number of games and, as a result, easy for us to target games and try to get out of the pool.”

Which may be the point. The team have been congenitally incapable of keeping the standards up through a 22-game grind of the PRO12 – and are struggling in the 21-game PRO14 – but can when it comes to what is effectively knock-out rugby in the six-game format of European competition, uncover their ability to turn on the quality.

Just ask Glasgow Warriors, who got on the wrong side of that at the end of last season when Edinburgh took their unfancied side to Scotstoun and won. Earlier in the season they had beaten Stade Francais at home and Harlequins – who are in the European Champions Cup this season – home and away.

No doubt, then that they are capable of raising their game for what they see as one-off events. The trouble is repeating it week after week, not just half a dozen times a season.

It is an issue Cockerill admits he is still grappling with. “We’ve played six, won three. Where does that leave us?” he said of the league form. “We’ve got to keep working at it.

“I don’t know where we are at the moment, we’re still a work in progress and we have a lot to prove about our consistency. But that’s the challenge, it’s not going to be fixed very quickly but I think we’re turning the corner.

“We’re going to London Irish to win, 100 per cent. If we can get two positive results in these first two games it puts us in a really strong position with two home games to come.

“We would hope to get a result in Moscow but it’s Edinburgh so who knows? We know we’re good enough to raise our game against London Irish and win, we’ve done it before. We had good results against Premiership and Top 14 sides last year. We’re certainly able to do it, it’s just a question of getting it right on the day.”

London Irish are certainly vulnerable. They had a good win over Harlequins to start the season but have not won since, conceding 28 points or more in every game they have played.

“They’ve started games very poorly but finished games very strongly; we’re probably the other way around, so that will be interesting,” said Cockerill. “It all depends how seriously they take it, how strong a team they put out.

“They’ll probably play with less pressure than normal. They’re fighting to stay up, even though it’s early in the Premiership, so their focus will probably be on Premiership points more than Europe. We have less pressure so we can just go out and play.”