Edinburgh prop Boan Venter knows victory over Zebre in Parma on Friday is vital for the club’s play-off hopes.  

Edinburgh are sixth in the URC table, but with only 10 points separating leaders Leinster and Connacht in ninth, Venter knows a slip-up against the Italian side could be costly.  

He said: “The log is quite tight and congested in that middle section, so it’s really important to us.  

“We’re not seeing it as an easy game - it’s a really important game for us and we’ll have to be at our best if we want to come away with the points.” 

By the time they run out at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi it will be four weeks since Edinburgh’s last outing, a 31-19 win at Scarlets.  

While Venter had enjoyed some time off, he was pleased to be back with a squad bolstered by the return of more than a dozen internationals.  

READ MORE: Scotland stars to return for Edinburgh's trip to Italy

He said: "It’s been a nice rest block, but it’s been really good since last week coming in and working hard with the boys, putting the hard graft in and being back with the Gunners. I’m keen to get back on the pitch.” 

With Pierre Schoeman retained by Scotland, Venter is expected to start in the number one jersey, but he says whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, his preparation remains the same.  

"It doesn’t really matter if you’re starting or on the bench, you have to be really on it because as Sean [Everitt, head coach] said today, the game is won in the preparation the week before.  

“I don’t really think you can see it as much different, because you never really know how the week runs out.  

“We’ve seen games where some guys get injured in the warm-up and the next guy has to take over his position.  

Scotland Rugby News:

“When you’re starting on the bench every week you need to be as best prepared as you could, because at the end of the day you need to go on the pitch and give it your all and put out your best performance possible.”   

The 26-year-old also knows Edinburgh are likely to come up against a Zebre side with a strong contingent of Italian internationals looking to make amends for a poor start to the Six Nations.  

He said: “Our main focus this week has been that we can’t let up for one second or give them any oxygen to breathe, so from the get-go we’re going to have to be on it and try and keep their heads under the water - and get some points on the board.” 

After the trip to Italy, Edinburgh have one home match – against Ospreys on March 1 – before a two-match trip to Venter’s native South Africa, where they play Stormers and Sharks on successive Saturdays. 

Venter, who is from Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape, knows building momentum is important before touring his homeland.  

He said: “It will be good for us if we can build some momentum going into the trip, because it’s always tough going to be play there - but I do think we’ve got what it takes to make a good impact there and put in some good performances, so I’m looking forward to that.”