PREVIEW | Cockerill: "These are the games you want play in."

Head Coach Richard Cockerill wants his side to continue ‘playing their game’ as Edinburgh travel to Stade Felix-Mayol this Saturday searching for a famous victory over RC Toulon.

The capital side enjoyed a stellar end to 2018 and have now recorded five wins on the bounce heading into the final fortnight of Heineken Champions Cup pool fixtures.

Sitting atop Pool 5 on 15 points – four points clear of second-place Montpellier – Edinburgh have been the unlikely front-runners of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup campaign, and now know that qualification for the knockout stages is in their own hands.

“We have to go and play our game,” explained Cockerill. “Things are not going to change much. They have some quality individuals who we know will cause us damage. They are a far better team at home and have improved hugely from the last time that we played them so we have to make sure we play how we play.

“We have been physical and dominant in the last five games but may not have the luxury of that against such a big physical team so we have to be accurate and move them around the field, move their big pack around and take our opportunities when they come.

“But is a very hard place to go and win. Not many teams do it, certainly not in Europe. We have to work hard.”

Edinburgh recorded a 40-14 win over RC Toulon in October and followed up that result with back-to-back victories over English Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.

However, after a slow start to their domestic season, the Stade Mayol outfit have steadied the ship in recent weeks and with wins over Grenoble and Lyon in recent weeks, RC Toulon will undoubtedly have their tails up heading into Saturday’s encounter.

“If you get it wrong they will hurt you. But we know if we get it right, and we’ve got a motivated group of players who want to prove themselves, because our lads haven’t been at this level before, we haven’t played these types of teams, so it’s an exciting challenge for us and one we want to take.

“I’d like us to go there and win, because then we’re playing for a home quarter-final when Montpellier come here and you look at that Montpellier side and your eyes water at what that would cost,” he said.

Although Edinburgh have enjoyed Euro success in recent years – including a trip to the Heineken Champions Cup semi-final in 2012 – this weekend’s trip to face the French giants is in many ways unchartered territory for the capital side.

However, despite the obvious pressures surround the clash, Cockerill insists that his players should be ‘excited’ to test themselves at European rugby’s top table.

“It’s what you coach for, and what’s you live for as a player as well. I said to the players: I’m not worried about going there, I’m excited.

“Let’s go and enjoy it because one; we’re good enough to win if we get it right, and two; we’ll learn something about ourselves. We’ll know what it feels like and looks like to perform in those arenas and against those types of teams.

“As a club, we’ve had some good runs in Europe. You look at that 2012 squad that reached the semi-final stages of the tournament, but as a young team we’re making great strides and heading in the right direction. These are the games you want to play in as a player.

“We’d like to make a little bit of history on Saturday as the first Scottish team to win at the Stade Mayol. But, we’re well aware that it will take a lot of hard work and drive to achieve a positive result.”