Richard Cockerill: Don't judge Edinburgh team after just four games

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill has urged people not to judge his side after four games of the season '“ and believes if they keep up the level of performance they have been putting in then they will get a victory against Benetton this Friday.

Tuesday, 25th September 2018, 6:30 am
Richard Cockerill

Last year the club made the Guinness PRO14 play-offs, but with just one win from the first month of action this time around they find themselves bottom of Conference B.

However, there is no panic in the Edinburgh ranks according to Cockerill ahead of a home match with the Italians at BT Murrayfield.

His side then host South African outfit the Cheetahs seven days later in the Capital as they look to build momentum ahead of the Champions Cup opener away to Montpellier on October 13.

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“We’ve had a tough start, two away games first up and three in four overall on the road,” Cockerill said.

“I don’t think you can judge any league on four games because some teams have had easier fixtures. Some teams have played three at home, which is more helpful, because you get momentum and you get three wins and if you’re on 12 or 13 points going into the next game there’s a little less pressure.

“The next two weeks we need to get points out of the games, for sure.

“I think we have played pretty well. You can find negatives – won one from four, bottom of the Conference etc – but if we continue to play as we have been playing we will get results.

“We have two home games now and we need to win them. You need to win your home games if you have ambition in this competition.

“Although we didn’t get the result [a 31-7 reverse] over in Leinster at the weekend and parts of the game didn’t go as we would have liked, we went to Dublin and it was a tough contest for both teams. For us, that’s a step in the right direction.

“We’ve got to compete in that company and we haven’t previously. Two years ago Edinburgh went there and got absolutely smashed [39-10] and it was just a procession.

“Well, now we’re going to these places and it’s not. Teams are having to treat us properly and prepare properly. They know they need to play well to get past us. That’s a really good foundation for us to work from.”

Last year Edinburgh lost 20-17 at home to Benetton and they will travel to Scotland later in the week with two victories from four.

Meanwhile, Cockerill does not believe Pierre Schoeman acted with any malice on Saturday, but agrees that it was a red card.

The South African losehead prop – who was banned for six weeks for biting in his native country back in April – will find out the length of his ban on Wednesday.

The head coach stated: “In the way things are looked at now I think it was a red card.

“He has made contact with the guy’s [Dan Leavy] neck to chin area and he has had to leave the field.

“I don’t think it is intentional, he has genuinely gone in to fend the guy off, but is a difficult one. It is something that the law makers will have to look at because the tackling player is stood upright and he is tackling with his chest and made that part a target to defend.

“We know if you make contact with that part of the body [head] then there will be a sanction. It is a fair enough card. He is a bit unlucky, I don’t think there is any malice in it. I just think he has caught him and unfortunately rules are rules.”