Cockerill proud of capital comeback

Cockerill proud of capital comeback

Head Coach Richard Cockerill was left proud of his side's efforts as Edinburgh Rugby's comeback came up just short in this afternoon's narrow 24-17 defeat to Dragons at Principality Stadium.

Edinburgh - who were without 27 players due to injury and international selection - trailed 24-5 at the break but fought back courageously in the second-half and were in a position to level the game in the final moments.

Cockerill also praised the performances of his FOSROC Academy players that impressed throughout the entertaining contest in Cardiff.

"We were overpowered in the first half and we didn't control the game. We lost collisions and we struggled a bit in the set piece and let them get away from us, but I'm very proud of the comeback.

"It could have gone horribly for us but full credit to the players - we had some injuries in key positions as well.

"I'm delighted for the young lads coming on making their debuts and just the spirit of the team, sticking to plan and guys showing what they can do and playing what's in front of them - we gave ourselves a real opportunity to get back in to the game."

With Dragons shooting out to an early first-half lead, Edinburgh were also forced in to a premature change at stand-off with Jaco van der Walt taken off through injury, which saw Blair Kinghorn slot in at 10.

"It got unstructured in that first half. We thought Dragons would come and play mere expansively in the second-half to score points because they needed to to get to fourth so that opened the game up.

"Jaco just got a little bit of a dead leg so its not too bad, but more precautionary because obviously we've got a big game next weekend.

"Blair at 10, he's not the best of kickers and he's more of a runner. He's a fantastic open field runner, he's quality there.

"It was good to see Matt Currie and those young guys get their opportunities to play which is fantastic.

"I'm delighted for guys like Patrick Harrison & Shaun Gunn getting their opportunities & making their debuts and guys like Marshall Sykes making their first starts - I was really happy for them."

With young players making their mark across the board, Mesu Kunavula (25) was another rising star that was thoroughly impressive in the physical match-up.

Playing at No. 8, the Fijian international was a powerful carrier all afternoon and was always on hand to provide those hards yards in close contact.

"Mesu is a good lad. He's learning the game and he's a little bit inexperienced at 15's but it's raw talent as you'll see with Bill Mata & Eroni Sau. Eroni was really, really good for us today.

"I am delighted with effort because it's a bgi step forward in the development of some of these young guys that don't always get to play at this level."

Edinburgh now gear up for next weekend's Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 clash against Racing 92 Paris, with Edinburgh set to welcome back their cohort of Scotland internationalists early next week.

"It will be nice to meet them all for the first time in a few weeks! We'll be back on Tuesday morning with those guys as we look to a big weekend in Paris next Sunday."

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