Cockerill's Cardiff Blues preview
Hear from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he discusses the team's form and fitness ahead of Saturday's trip to face Cardiff Blues.
On David Cherry injury
“Dave Cherry has got an injury to his AC joint, so he won’t be fit for the weekend. Hopefully we’ll get it scanned in the next couple of days once the swelling’s gone down, see where it is, but it’s probably a four- to six-week injury, I’d have thought.”
On the squad’s fitness
“By and large with everybody fit and healthy that squad will pretty much stay the same bar the odd player. We’re just training as well as we can and getting in as much preparation time as we can and we’re going to try and get as many points as we can without the Test players.
“Even post-World Cup those guys are going to need rest and it’s going to be a slow integration for those guys to come back into the squad and that will be the same for a lot of teams. I’m happy with the squad we’ve got. It was a good result for us at the weekend when historically those types of games have been very difficult for us to put teams away. So let’s hope it’s a good sign for us.”
On Hamish Watson's injury
“Hamish has been back a few days. He’s been to see a specialist about his knee. He’s got a strain on his MCL and we hope he’ll be fit to play by early December.”
On losing Watson and seeing both Jamie Ritchie and Magnus Bradbury at the RWC
“We’re obviously gutted for Hamish. Rugby World Cups are special occasions and it is a chance to show yourself on the biggest stage. But we’re also pleased to see Magnus get the opportunity and for him to go straight into the starting XV to face Samoa. It is a bit of double jeopardy for us, but it’s the nature of the business. Our players work very hard and deserve every opportunity they get.”
On putting down a marker against Zebre
“We were clearly motivated against Zebre. We have worked hard at our fitness and we are trying to play a bit differently this year. Hopefully people will start to see us being a bit more threatening with ball in hand.
On Matt Scott and Mark Bennett returning to form
"Both players have returned from long spells on the sidelines and they’ve got a full pre-season under their belts. They are both fully fit. If we continue to play as we have, and they both show the form that they have so far, they will certainly be on Gregor’s list to look at – because as we’ve seen, that midfield is up for grabs.
“Both of them played fantastic against Zebre. Mark is quick and decisive in his actions and he’s playing with lots of confidence. Same with Matt as well.”
On preparing mentally for Cardiff Blues challenge
“It’s just about getting our preparations right. We started the 2017/18 season there and won. Our first year together as group we were very good away from home, but last year we had a habit of losing those matches by very close margins.
“Cardiff aren’t missing as many guys as we are and they will probably be thinking they can get off to a good start in the competition. We know their threats and they are a good team – but we’re a good team as well and we’re going there to win. If we get it right and play as well as I know we can, we’ll definitely give ourselves an opportunity to do that.”