Cockerill hails 'incredibly exciting' United Rugby Championship
Head Coach Richard Cockerill hailed today's announcement that the top clubs from South Africa will combine with the Guinness PRO14 to form a 16-team 'United Rugby Championship' in 2021-22.
The new look competition will see teams from five of rugby’s elite nations – Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales and South Africa - compete in a game-changing agreement between SA Rugby and PRO14 Rugby that will drive greater growth of the game for the benefit of all 16 teams in the league.
“It’s a really exciting development for everyone connected to the club to welcome the very best of South African rugby into a new United Rugby Championship," said Cockerill.
“They’re quality sides filled with some of the world’s best Rugby World Cup-winning players. It’ll be an incredible challenge for the squad to measure themselves up against week in, week out.
"The calibre of rugby is going to be of the highest standard and something our supporters will surely be excited about."
The new competition format means teams will no longer compete on international weekends, which Cockerill sees as a particular benefit to Edinburgh Rugby, who provide players to the Scotland national team.
“As Edinburgh coach I’m especially pleased to see the new tournament format set up to avoid the international weekends.
"As a team which provides players to the national team in double figures, this is a real boost for us.
“Removing those clashes should mean better, more regular access to our best players, which can only be a good thing for our ambitions in the URC and for European Champions Cup qualification.
"It also means when supporters come to an Edinburgh game, they know they’re going to see the best against the best."
Today's announcement comes after the club announced record Season Ticket Membership sales on day-one of renewals, with over 1800 supporters snapping up tickets in Edinburgh Rugby's new purpose-built home.
“The club is already set for an historic season following the launch of our new stadium, so today’s announcement adds another layer to that excitement," continued Cockerill.
"It’s going to be a very special season indeed."