Cockerill has a lot to take away from fantastic first win

Cockerill has a lot to take away from fantastic first win

Speaking after Edinburgh’s resounding 50-15 win over Zebre in their first game of their 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 campaign, Head Coach Richard Cockerill believes that despite there being a lot of positives to take away from it all, the squad need to keep themselves grounded.

“It’s a good start for us. With all respect to Zebre, you’d expect to get a result at home for sure. In my first two years here, these types of games have been very much an arm-wrestle. The way we’ve trained in pre-season and the way we try to play, the execution and the attitude from the boys tonight was first class."

"It was still a bit clunky at times - you don’t want to let teams back into games and you don’t want to give away soft points, which we did on a couple of occasions, but overall it was a really good start for us.

We know there’s tougher days to come, but from today’s performance I’m very pleased and very happy with how we played.

Speaking on the centre pairing of Guinness Man of the Match, Mark Bennett, and try-scorer Matt Scott, Cockerill believes the two are truly coming into their own.

“They’re both very good players – Mark’s been injured for two years through no fault of his own, but he’s had a full pre-season, he’s fully fit and we’re starting to see the quality that he has. We play a system that gets the best out of his skill set – same with Matt Scott, he’s lost weight, he’s fit, he’s enjoying what he’s doing and we’ve got a team out there that look like they enjoy playing rugby."

Cockerill acknowledged that there is still work to be done, and despite the result, the team should keep themselves focused at this early stage in the season.

“We got a really good try, then gave silly penalties away on our exit, letting them into our 22 for them to have a crack at us - we’ve just got to be a bit smarter at times. There will be some good stuff to review and feed back to the players, but with seven tries and 50 points, it’s a good start for us. We know there’s bigger days to come and harder teams to play, but if you don’t execute like we did tonight, you can end up in an arm-wrestle you don’t want, and thankfully we didn’t get to that point tonight.

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