Playing for places on the Scotland tour is chief motivation left for Edinburgh squad
Richard Cockerill hopes the chance to win places on Scotland’s summer tour will provide sufficient motivation for his Edinburgh players in the three remaining games of the Rainbow Cup.
Defeat by Glasgow Warriors last Friday saw the capital side surrender the 1872 Cup for the first time in four years and Cockerill has admitted the season is now “dead” for his club.
It has been a trying campaign for the Edinburgh coach whose mind is already straying to next season which will hopefully see the return of supporters as the club moves into their new stadium.
Another game against Glasgow is unlikely to be what he would have wanted but it is what he has got. The match at BT Murrayfield on Saturday night will be followed by a home game against Ulster on June 5 and an away match versus Scarlets on June 13.
“We have guys who are coming back from injury and there is a Scotland tour coming up and guys will want to put their hands up for that and notwithstanding there are three guys that need game time to keep themselves sharp for the British and Irish Lions,” said Cockerill, searching for positives in the dying embers of the campaign.
“Those little motivations will keep guys with whatever agenda they have to keep playing and at this point we are still in the competition.”
Several Edinburgh players are likely to put their hand up for selection for Scotland’s summer schedule which comprises an A international against England and full Tests in Romania and Georgia. Hamish Watson, Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland are the three who have been selected for the Lions.
The Rainbow Cup holds little appeal in itself, with the absence of South African teams due to Covid-related travelling restrictions stripping the tournament of any intrigue it might have had.
“It is a relatively contrived competition isn’t it?” said Cockerill. “It has been a very difficult year with the South Africans not being able to travel.
“It’s a good competition to get some game time and keep them sharp for the summer [but] the season is dead for us really. We have a few guys ticking along and look forward to planning for pre season and next season now.”