Cockerill's Scarlets preview
Hear from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with the media ahead of Saturday's Guinness PRO14 match against Scarlets at BT Murrayfield.
On preparing for a long block of fixtures
"We had three good training days, had a long weekend, and we’re in back in for a good long run now until the Six Nations. Thirteen games on the bounce and we’ve got to integrate the Scotland boys back in. Just keep trucking along – we’ve got to make sure we put in a performance on Saturday and take the points out of the game.
On the challenge of Scarlets
"They’re a good side, they’ve got good players and they’ve had as many missing as ourselves. They’re unbeaten, they’ve got a new coach who has a very expansive way of playing. They’re pretty much like ourselves: they’re pretty functional, they look to get the ball wide, very hard off the line in defence – we’ve had a couple of games already where teams do that.
“We know what’s coming. We need to bounce back from a pretty average performance in parts at Leinster. There were some good parts at Leinster too, so we’ve got to put that together.”
On returning Scotland players
“There will be a couple of guys hopefully involved this weekend that didn’t play a huge amount,” Cockerill said. “Pyrgos is already in [the squad]. I forgot about him – I didn’t really count him, to be fair, he just went for a week’s break! No, we’re hoping to have Kinghorn and Bradbury come back into the squad. We’ll see.
“Some guys are having a bit more time because they feel they need it. World Cups, long tours, Lions tours – guys react differently, so even some guys that haven’t had a huge amount of game time need a bit more time away from rugby cos they’ve been together four months, they’ve been away from home, they’ve been living in hotels.
On the challenge of keeping internationalists fresh
“Some of that’s not just the physical parts, it’s the emotional parts of getting them fresh mentally to come back and play what’s going to be a big season. Big for us as a club, but then there’s the Six Nations, which will be tough, and then there’s a summer tour which is going to be probably the toughest summer tour in the world with South Africa, South Africa, New Zealand.
"It’s not an easy tour after a World Cup year and a Six Nations. We’ve got to be careful that we manage those guys correctly.”