Cockerill previews Dragons

Cockerill previews Dragons

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with the media ahead of this Friday's Guinness PRO14 match against Dragons at BT Murrayfield.

On the defeat to Benetton

“It is a game we put ourselves in a position to win. We made some poor errors at times and our discipline wasn’t brilliant.

We had a couple of opportunities to kick penalties at the end to win the game, but that’s life. Jaco van der Walt was the golden boot winner last year, so he’s won us far more games than he’s lost us. Kickers win you games, they don’t lose you games.

“There were some things we need to improve, but if we had kicked one of those goals and won, would it have solved all those problems we have? No. So, we’ll take a point and we have to have a long hard look at ourselves which we’ve certainly done this week.”

On preparations for facing Dragons

“In terms of things we can control, the first part of our defensive performance last weekend just wasn’t acceptable – we were too soft.

“The conditions were wet, we knew Treviso would run at us hard, and we just didn’t meet that physical battle well enough in the first 20 minutes.

“As the game went on, we improved physically and we got better. But we need to improve our game-management and learn that we can’t be giving teams any points for free.

“We have had a good review and we have made sure there’s no misunderstanding around parts of our game where we need to get better.

“We want a good win on Friday because five points would take us on to 20 points. We would be starting to get ourselves into the (play-off) mix, if not cemented in the mix.”

On combating different teams and environments

“It works both ways. We’re never as bad as we think – but we also certainly weren’t as good as we thought from the Scarlets game the previous week.

“We have to adapt in terms of the conditions. Against Scarlets, it was fairly calm and dry – and then it was horrendous in Treviso.

“Those aren’t the shiny bits. You have to get through the tough games and the crap games if you want to get to the shiny bits with Quarter-finals and Semi-finals at the end of the season.”

On returning Scotland internationalists

“Darcy Graham has a quad strain he picked up against Japan, so he won’t be available this week.

“Grant Gilchrist, Ben Toolis, John Barclay, Jamie Ritchie and Simon Berghan will all be available to play.

“Darcy is still probably another two or three weeks away, so it’s nothing too bad."

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