‘I don’t think Worcester and Gloucester are teams you win silverware with’ - Richard Cockerill defends Edinburgh after losing second player to Premiership

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill is confident players’ ambitions can still be matched in Scotland after losing a second member of his squad to the English Premiership.
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill expects to announce some new signings. Picture: Ross Parker / SNSEdinburgh coach Richard Cockerill expects to announce some new signings. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill expects to announce some new signings. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

He was speaking as it emerged that lock forward Andrew Davidson is to leave the capital club at the end of the season to join Gloucester. The news of his departure comes just 24 hours after it was confirmed star winger Duhan van der Merwe had agreed a move to Worcester Warriors. He too will leave Edinburgh when the current season finishes.

Van der Merwe was the Guinness Pro14 player of the year last season and has been Edinburgh’s top try scorer in each of his three full seasons with the club.

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Cockerill, who said Edinburgh made the Scotland winger a competitive offer, now plans to bolster his squad with some new signings.

“In the next few days and weeks we’ll announce guys who are coming and others who are re-signing,” said the coach. “It’s just market forces. We put forward a more than competitive offer to Duhan. He’s chosen not to accept that to go elsewhere. That’s the economics of it. We have to respect his decision. We have him for the next months and he’ll still be coming back to play for Scotland hopefully. But it opens the door for someone else.

“In some ways it’s a compliment that other clubs look at our players and what we’ve done over the past four years developing Duhan as a player. We would have liked to have kept him for obvious reasons but this is professional sport – it’s the way of the world. We have to wish him well and we move on.”

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Glasgow have also lost a star name to English rugby, with Adam Hastings agreeing a deal to join Gloucester too when his current contract runs out. But Cockerill still believes Scottish rugby has much to offer and that Edinburgh is the right place for ambitious players.

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“We’ve improved out of sight in the last four years,” he said. “We’ve been in European quarter-finals and just lost out. We’ve been in Pro 14 semis and just lost out. So at Edinburgh we’re doing good things.

"With respect to Worcester and Gloucester, I don’t think they are two teams you are going to go to win silverware with. They’ve got as much or as little chance as ourselves. So it depends on how you want to play the narrative. I’m trying to think of the last time Gloucester or Worcester won a trophy or the Premiership. So it’s a bit harsh to say that players are leaving Edinburgh to go to win trophies.”

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