Cockerill - A-game time a welcome boost
Head Coach Richard Cockerill today hailed the chance to offer meaningful game time to young and fringe Edinburgh players in today's 'A' match against their Glasgow counterparts at Scotstoun.
In treacherous conditions, Edinburgh A overturned a 19-7 half-time deficit, scoring 15 straight second-half points, to return east with a victory, and local ‘A’ bragging rights in the bag.
Cockerill said: “I think it was very worthwhile. Obviously with Covid there’s not been a lot of opportunity for fringe guys and young guys to play, so it was good to offer some meaningful game time.
“The weather conditions weren’t brilliant, with the wind and the rain. We were playing into a headwind in the first-half, struggled to get territory and were behind on the scoreboard at half time, but in the second-half, with the weather conditions, we played some decent rugby.
“In the end a draw would have probably been a fairer result but it’s always nice to get the win.
“It was always going to be a little bit tricky for some guys who haven’t played for the best part for ten or eleven months, so it was interesting to see how the game flowed. But there was a lot of intent and physicality.
“It was good getting guys like Damien Hoyland and Murray McCallum back from injury, which is really good for us going into the Six Nations period.
“It was good to get Nathan Chamberlain game time, Charlie Savala did well when he came on for his first game in an Edinburgh shirt, and for guys like Ben Muncaster – who was playing his first game of men’s rugby ever – as well as the first time in an Edinburgh shirt.
“Guys like Patrick Harrison, who plays at Peebles, was stepping up and playing senior rugby with us so, all round, for both teams, I think there was some real positives and probably something in the future we can replicate.
“A lot of these guys do all the training in the week, hold a lot of bags and help the 23 that’s preparing to play in a PRO14 or European game, so we put a real emphasis on preparing them for the game. This week the normal 23 were the guys holding the bags and doing all the donkey work for the young guys that were playing today.
“We prepared well, we treated it like normal first team preparation, with the meeting pre-match and buses to the game together. It was good for the spirit and the ambience of the squad, good to get guys playing, and treat them as they were the stars of the show, sort of speak.
“They want to get out there and enjoy themselves and the best way to develop is to play. Eventually getting the win makes it nice to review tomorrow (Friday), knowing we can still do lots of things better.
“Those guys first experience of playing at Scotstoun is going there and winning and that’s good for our mentality as a club.”