PREVIEW | Cockerill: "The players are motivated to win."

Head Coach Richard Cockerill believes that Edinburgh’s younger players will have a huge part to play in the coming weeks as his side prepare to face Scarlets at BT Murrayfield this Friday night.

Forsroc Scottish Rugby Academy locks Jamie Hodgson and Callum Atkinson both made their debuts in last weekend’s defeat to Zebre and the Head Coach expects several other burgeoning players to step up during the Autumn Tests period.

“We’ll work bloody hard and whatever team we have available, we’ll pick the best combinations and go out to try and win. How realistic that is, I don’t know,” said Cockerill.

“It will be a challenge for us, but the only way for young players to get blooded and learn – and you’d like them not to do it all at the same time – is by playing them. Unfortunately you have to take a bit of pain on the way. We’ll see how much pain that is this Friday.

“The thing is, and I’ve been through it many times before, but, what’s the answer. Do we come home and sulk because we’ve got a difficult period coming up? No, we’ve got to work hard with the players we’ve got, roll up our sleeves, prepare as well as we can and try and win on Friday night.

“That’s my job. I don’t think we have to lift the players, the players are motivated to win – it’s just whether we’re good enough with the squad we’ve got to win. Clearly last Friday night, we weren’t.”

Edinburgh fell to a disappointing defeat against Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi last weekend but Cockerill expects his side to make amends as Scarlets visit BT Murrayfield this Friday night.

The encounter against the 2016/17 Guinness PRO14 Champions is Edinburgh’s only fixture this November and sees Richard Cockerill’s side looking to keep up their 100% record at BT Murrayfield this season so far.

With several experienced players injured and out for the coming weeks, Edinburgh have been forced to bleed several youngsters into the starting XV ahead of time. However, Cockerill is adamant that the game time will only benefit the club in the long term.

“Injuries have given an opportunity to younger guys like Ally Miller. Whilst Rory Darge – who’s only 18-years-old - has been training with us and may be involved at the weekend. Jamie Hodgson made his first start at the weekend and played well.

“Callum Atkinson will get a chance to sit on the bench for us and play a game of senior rugby. I’d love not to play all those young back-rows and locks playing in the team at one time, however, the short-term pain – and it is bloody painful getting beat in Parma – is worth it in the longer term. Those younger guys will be better in the long term having played.

“So, you can either look at it and say it’s all doom and gloom, or well actually it’s a really good opportunity to get some young Scottish kid playing here.

“There’s the picture here and now, which is this weekend’s match against Scarlets, but there’s also the bigger of the next three years where we’ll hopefully be sitting saying aren’t Hodgson, Darge and Atkinson really good? These are the times when careers are started. I still want to win now, but there’s a balance to that.”