Pierre Schoeman marked his 30th birthday on Tuesday by training with Edinburgh, and has put off any celebrations until after Friday’s vital URC clash with Zebre at Hive Stadium.  

Asked how exactly he planned to mark his special occasion, the Scotland prop replied: “Steak to celebrate tonight. No cake. A few Tennent’s after a win on Friday.” 

Schoeman isn’t taking his Friday night celebrations for granted either, despite the Italians travelling with only one league win all season, he knows they can be difficult customers.  

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He said: “Some of the games they’ve lost have been narrow margins.  

“You have to respect them and they’ll want to prove a point and make up for Benetton’s matches. We know how crucial this is for us.” 

Edinburgh go into Friday’s match in ninth place in the URC table, and needing a win to keep their hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.  

Schoeman is under no illusions that a match like the visit of the lowly Italians could define Edinburgh’s season. 

He added: “This can easily define you positively or negatively. It’s a massive game.” 

If they do successfully navigate the challenge of Zebre, Edinburgh have matches with Munster and Benetton to overcome to secure a top-eight place - no mean feat and certainly not a guarantee.  

Scotland Rugby News: Pierre Schoeman fends off Scarlets' Taine PlumtreePierre Schoeman fends off Scarlets' Taine Plumtree (Image: SNS)

If they do manage to make it through, there is a chance the capital side could face Glasgow Warriors in the quarter-finals.  

Schoeman wasn't interested in who Edinburgh might face, however, and insisted the squad’s focus is firmly on getting the first part of the job done on Friday.  

“We’re just focused on our first job,” the prop said.  

“We have our fans at The Hive so we’re looking forward to that. It’s must-win for us and everyone knows it, the players and management.”  

Edinburgh may not have found themselves in such a predicament to reach the knockout phase of the URC had they secured more bonus points this season.  

Sean Everitt’s team have as many wins as third-place Munster and the Bulls in fourth, but have collected only three bonus points all season compared to those teams’ eleven each.  

Schoeman said the squad knows the importance of securing maximum points on Friday night.  

He continued: “The first job is to get the win. We can be confident but we have to respect them as well. Teams go there and sometimes underestimate them. But we have to have the confidence to go for the bonus point as well.” 

Rather than highlighting any flaws in Edinburgh’s game, Schoeman believes their lack of bonus points is a sign of the quality of the league, with games evenly contested.  

“It just shows the quality of the sides. The top eight, the points difference, all the bonus points matter so much, especially if you get a few wins on the road. Everyone is going for it now.” 

Schoeman knows only after a win - and ideally one with an accompanying bonus point - will he be able to celebrate his birthday this weekend.