Jamie Ritchie is confident Edinburgh can win their remaining five regular-season United Rugby Championship (URC) matches and earn a home quarter-final.  

The former Scotland captain believes the club can turn around a disappointing recent run of three losses in their last four matches, starting by beating Scarlets at Hive Stadium on Saturday night.  

The most recent of those defeats saw Edinburgh knocked out of the Challenge Cup by the Sharks, and Ritchie said while that result was a disappointment, it means the capital club are now laser-focused on the URC run-in. 

He said: “Obviously we'd prefer to be in the mix in both [competitions], but I think it makes our plan ahead pretty clear. We know what we need to do to be where we want to be, so that’s the silver-lining of us being out of Europe. 

 “Five wins gets us in the top four, which is where we want to be with a home quarter-final.” 

While head coach Sean Everitt bemoaned an ill-disciplined performance in the Challenge Cup defeat in Durban, Ritchie said it was important to move on from that display.  

READ MORE: Edinburgh's discipline must improve, Sean Everitt admits

He said: "You look at it from a performance and there’s bits in there we can do better, definitely, but there is also a lot of good in there. 

“At the stage of the season we are at, we don’t want to dwell on things too much. 

“Europe is gone, unfortunately. It is probably a game we could have won but we didn’t, but there is learning we can take into the league and our soul focus is now getting ourselves into a play-off position so that we can hopefully go better in that quarter-final.” 

Everitt’s side, currently in ninth, have a favourable run of games ahead that starts with the visit of 14th place Scarlets to Hive Stadium before a trip to Cardiff (13th) next weekend, while the league’s bottom club, Zebre, visit Edinburgh on May 10.  

With their most recent home match – the Challenge Cup win over Bayonne - switched to Scottish Gas Murrayfield on safety grounds, Ritchie is looking forward to returning to The Hive this weekend.  

Scotland Rugby News: Jamie Ritchie in action against Bayonne Jamie Ritchie in action against Bayonne (Image: SNS)

He added: “We firmly believe we can win all our games on the run-in. I don’t think that is an unattainable goal.  

“These teams below us are fighting for something as well so we certainly know there are no easy games in there.  

“We’ve not played at the Hive for a wee while now so we want to come out here and play well for our fans who we have been missing.” 

There is an outside chance that Edinburgh could meet Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-finals, and Ritchie insists that is a match he would relish. 

“It would be really good fun,” he said.  

“The good thing about that is that we know we beat them earlier on in the season, and it would be a one-off game so we would be confident that we could go there and put in a good performance.” 

Ritchie was one of Edinburgh’s outstanding performers in their recent two-match URC tour to South Africa, and against Sharks in the Challenge Cup last eight clash.  

But it has been a difficult period for the flanker, who lost the Scotland captaincy before the Six Nations and by the end of the championship found himself out of Gregor Townsend’s matchday 23 altogether.  

READ MORE: Jamie Ritchie on reflects on losing Scotland captaincy

After a long season that kicked off with Rugby World Cup preparations almost 12 months ago, Ritchie insists fatigue has not kicked in quite yet.  

He added: “With the way it has worked out, if I can hopefully stay injury free then I’ll be able to play all the games in the run-in. So, I am really looking forward to that and hopefully I’ll keep performing well. 

“Every year when you get to this end of the season your body feels like you are maybe not reaching as high in the gym, you are more just looking forward to getting yourself right for the weekend. 

Scotland Rugby News: Jamie Ritchie insists fatigue - whether mental or physical - has not set in after a long seasonJamie Ritchie insists fatigue - whether mental or physical - has not set in after a long season (Image: SNS)

“It’s just the nature of the beast sometimes and we’ve all been in this position before. 

“The body is feeling pretty good and I feel like I’m playing well, so I’m just excited for the run-in.” 

Asked if he would be touring with Scotland in the summer, he added: “I’m not sure. I’m meeting Gregor at some point that week, so I am sure we’ll chat about that then. It is up to him.”