PREVIEW | Cockerill: "We need a big performance."

After watching his side battle to death, only to come up short for the second time in as many weeks, Head Coach Richard Cockerill believes there are still plenty of positives to take out of Edinburgh’s early season performances.

Despite remaining winless following last weekend’s single point loss to Ulster in Belfast, the capital side have flashed glimpses of quality in both attack and defence, and Cockerill insists his squad are building in the right direction.

“I was disappointed with last weekend’s result, but I was pleased with a lot of parts of the performance,” explained Cockerill. “To have a lead and then lose match with the last kick of the game obviously wasn’t great. We have to better at managing our game in these situations.

“We’ve got learn to get in front and control the tempo of the game, and we didn’t do that as well as we would have liked. But we’re playing some really nice stuff, and we could have easily won the game. The luck didn’t go with us, but you’ve got to roll with that sometimes.

“We’ve shown that we can stay in the fight. We did it down in Swansea, whilst this week we obviously played so much better. But, I think you can see that we’re a good team and when we do play to our capabilities, we push the very best teams right to the finish.

Despite being pipped to the post by Cooney’s last gaps strike, Edinburgh commanded last weekend’s clash in Belfast for long periods, and at one point build up a seventeen-point lead.

“There’s lots of positives,” added Cockerill. “We’re playing some decent rugby. Physically, we’re very good and fitness wise we’re really good.

“This team is still improving. We’re not the finished article by a long way. We’re not as good as those top teams yet, but we’re developing well and we’ll get better.

We’ve got good strength and depth across the board. The sum of our parts is always going to be out strength – we’re not a team of individuals.

“We’ve got some good bodies to come back in, however, whoever is available for this weekend’s match, we’ll get them coached as well as we can and ready to go”

And one of those ‘good bodies’ to come back in could be Scotland star, Hamish Watson, who is once again available for selection following the birth of his daughter

“Hamish Watson had a baby girl on Friday, so congratulations to him! I’m not sure of a name yet. We’ll draw lots on that and see what we come up with. But no, there’s some good things happening at the club,” continued the Head Coach.

“I know we’re had two losses from two games, but we’re in a good place and that doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a great spirit amongst the camp. But, we just need to make sure that we put in the same performance against Connacht as we did Ulster, and we’ll be fine."

Edinburgh welcome Connacht to BT Murrayfield this Friday in the team’s first home fixture of the new campaign, and Cockerill is hopeful that his side can take advantage of home comforts in front of an expectant Edinburgh support.

“Games on the road certainly take a toll on the players so it’s nice to have some home comforts. We’ll be training at BT Murrayfield all week and then obviously play here on Friday night.

“It would be great to have a big crowd and get in front of our own supporters, so we’ve got to match their passion with a fine performance – that’s going to be really important for us.

And Friday night’s opponents will be looking to build upon a strong season opening, which has saw the Irish province split their first two fixtures of the year.

“Connacht have had a pretty good start. They just lost to Glasgow, but could have won that at the death and then they had a pretty big win against Zebre last weekend.

“They’re playing some really god stuff. Andy Friends seems to have had a really big impact on them and they’re playing with the ball in hand.

“They’re not too dissimilar to us in that they don’t have too many rock stars and they work on their strength as a unit.

“We need a big performance. But I’ve got no doubt in that if we perform as we did against Ulster, then we’ll be on the right end of the result. We just need to keep that right intensity.”