PREVIEW | Cockerill: "We need to go back to our basics."

Ahead of Friday night’s crucial Guinness PRO14 clash against Ulster – where a win could see Edinburgh secure both a place in this season’s Final Series and next season’s Champions Cup – Head Coach Richard Cockerill has called on his side to refocus on the hard work that initially elevated the team into a top-three position.

“The focus for this week is that we can’t look too far ahead of ourselves. We need to play as well as we can on Friday night and do what we’ve done well up to this point.

“We’ve never qualified for the Final Series, so we have a little bit if pressure on ourselves to get that right, so we can prove that we are capable of that. We’ve got to learn what that feels like and how to cope with that. The best way to do that is to experience it.

There is no doubt we are capable of winning these games. We just need to get it right and go back to our basics around both our physically and mentality.”

Ulster come into Friday night’s fixture on the back of a three-game losing streak, but with Champions Cup aspirations on the line, the Irish side will be able to welcome back several internationalists, many of whom have just achieved Grand Slam glory on the NatWest 6 Nations stage.

“Ulster are a good side,” continued Cockerill. “They are going to bring Rory Best, Piutau, Stockdale, Henderson. They are all world class players. I’m sure Piutau costs as much as our back line, but that’s ok.

“It’s a great experience for us and I have no doubt that if we can compete, we can beat them.”

After watching his side slip-up against Cardiff Blues in last weekend’s European Challenge Cup Quarter-Final Cockerill is adamant that Edinburgh won’t let their standards slip, especially with such crucial fixtures on the horizon.

“We have some expectation within the playing group. What I expect is 100% commitment and I want us to put our best game out on the field, which we have done more often than not.

We let ourselves down a little bit against Cardiff, but we need to go through those experiences to come back and review why we played within ourselves.

“We played not to lose instead of looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck. We made a couple of errors - that happens - but we are a better team than we showed against Cardiff.

“But, we are gaining respect from our opposition. If beating Edinburgh in Edinburgh is what the top sides are talking about, its shows that teams are respecting us in the competition and taking notice of us.

“Teams need to know that if they don’t prepare properly, and get it right, it’s going to be a tough game."