IT'S the start of a tough block of fixtures and a good performance, and more importantly the win, against Edinburgh at Rodney Parade on Sunday would set us up perfectly to make strides heading into 2019.

The first batch is done and our review didn't simply look at individual errors but missed opportunities that we created but didn't execute.

Too many games slipped away from us and we have frequently been the masters of our own downfall rather than our opponents completely outplaying us.

That's frustrating and we have to change that in what is going to be a tough block with Edinburgh followed by Leinster, Northampton and Clermont before the festive derbies.

We head into it refreshed by a break from the Guinness PRO14 and Europe, which gave us all the opportunity to recharge the batteries both mentally and physically.

Personally, it was nice to get away for a few days in Iceland – a first 'Christmas' holiday in nine years – to see some pretty sights and try some of the most outstanding and unusual food (fish, reindeer… puffin) before getting back to work.

There have been some changes that will need time to settle, but we have some fundamental principles that we will all stick to, and going forward that will help us in the long-term.

Obviously the main change is in defence with Bernard Jackman now taking the lead for that part of the game.

The stat of 127 tries conceded in 29 PRO14 games since the start of last season is a pretty shocking one and that means there has been a lot of focus on defence over the past fortnight, getting basics in place.

When we look back at our games there are a few criminal moments where we just don't help each other; sometimes the system didn't help the individual.

There were games like Ulster when we were in the battle but then I slipped off a tackle, two or three phases it looks like we have scrambled to recover but, because things weren't in place, they were able to break through again.

It's about the detail of getting our defenders in the best possible places in the defensive line quicker to help each other and the system. One error can lead to three or four more, we've identified that and can begin to rectify it.

We've also focused on mentality, because there has definitely been a weakness in the minutes just before and after half-time.

Every time we look back in reviews, the attitude, effort and intensity cannot be questioned.

As a whole, they are system errors, lack of understanding or even sometimes a lack of trust. When there is a lack of confidence and negative memories from previous weeks then you try to correct it and there is a danger of overcompensating.

That's when there's a risk of players trying to save the day but ending up doing the opposite, making problems for the team later on.

Prioritising is tough for a coach. I've experienced it when you want to tick every box and correct everything but it's simply not possible and you spread your time and energy too thin.

We aim to really focus on two or three areas that could have the greatest impact for us winning this week and in the future.

If we nail our defence, and especially our ruck chain systems, it will have a knock-on effect in helping our attack.

It's not reinventing the wheel, it's about doing the basics well. Small changes can make big improvements if we keep moving in the right direction.

We are all looking forward to this game.

Richard Cockerill has a well-drilled Edinburgh side but we will be going into the game with more confidence in each other and the performance should reflect that.