For the second week in a row, Edinburgh failed to get out of the blocks in South Africa, and they can ill-afford to extend that run to three when Bayonne visit Hive Stadium on Saturday.  

The French side will have taken plenty of encouragement from Edinburgh’s dip in form on their mini-tour, where they were soundly beaten by Stormers and didn’t fire a shot against Sharks, despite head coach Sean Everitt’s claim they could have won the game.  

Boan Venter’s try with the clock through 80 minutes reduced the final margin to 10 points, but if it had been double that few observers would have minded.  

Everitt said post-match he would endeavour to keep Edinburgh’s spirits high – but he’ll also need his top internationals to be at their best when the Top 14 outfit visit the capital in the Challenge Cup last 16.  

Duhan van der Merwe is due a big game having flattered to deceive in both of his last outings for club and country. He was kept quiet by Ireland in Dublin then failed to have any meaningful impact in Durban.  

The big winger – one of the most impressive physical specimens in the game – was bundled into touch on two occasions by Sharks wing Werner Kok.

Post-match, Everitt admitted those errors were unacceptable, but was not worried about the 2021 Lions tourist’s form.   

Scotland Rugby News: It was a difficult afternoon in Durban for Duhan van der MerweIt was a difficult afternoon in Durban for Duhan van der Merwe (Image: SNS)

The Edinburgh head coach said “Duhan got tackled into touch on two occasions which he will know is not acceptable.   

“He is a world-class winger, and as we all know he is still up for Six Nations player of the year. 

"The fact that he didn’t get much opportunity against Ireland in Dublin doesn’t make him a bd player, and the fact that he got tackled into touch twice today doesn’t mean that either.  

“If he’d got away there on those occasions, he would have had two tries then this conversation wouldn’t be happening.“ 

One of the positives Edinburgh’s head coach will take out of the Sharks defeat was the performance of Jamie Ritchie, who returned from Six Nations duty with an all-action display.   

It has been a difficult period for Ritchie, who was replaced as Scotland captain before the Six Nations and found himself out of Gregor Townsend’s squad by the end of the championship.

But he responded well in Durban, his work at the breakdown digging Edinburgh out of more than one tight corner. 

Three breakdown steals also helped to cement his place at the top of the league turnover charts for the season with 11. 

Scotland Rugby News: Jamie Ritchie was back with a bang for EdinburghJamie Ritchie was back with a bang for Edinburgh (Image: SNS)

Everitt sung the praises of the former Scotland captain.

He said: “I thought he played very well today. 

"His last 80 minutes was against Zebre seven weeks ago, so it is just great that he got time under his belt. 

“I thought he was really good in the carry and in defence he was really strong, and he managed to force a couple of turnovers, so, I think it was a good game for him."

"He’s been through a bit of adversity with regards to selection and I think he’s bounced back strongly.” 

Back-to-back defeats mean Edinburgh have fallen out of the URC play-off places, and Everitt believes a break in league action could have come at a good time for his charges.  

He also the capital side will feel the benefit of their international stars returning against Sharks – of those those fit, only Grant Gilchrist (personal reasons) and Ali Price, whose partner gave birth during the week, missed the tour.  

Everitt added: “Having this game together with the internationals back has helped us build cohesion going into next week's game.  

“It's going to be important for us to keep the group together so we can take success from the game we're going to play on Saturday, then into the balance of the URC which is still alive and kicking for Edinburgh.” 

The former Sharks coach vowed his team will improve after two disappointing performances in South Africa.  

“We’ll be better for that next week.” Everitt said.