Press Pass: 1872 Cup preview
Hear from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with the media ahead of Saturday's 1872 Cup match against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.
On being labelled favourites for Saturday's match
"If we get it right, we can beat any team on its day which we are slowly doing and proving. They have not been playing as well as they have up till now over the past two years but we will keep building on what we are doing. We are going there to take as many points as we can as we want to be in the play-offs.
"I don’t think we’ve got a chip on our shoulder about them being better than us or anything, we’re just going there to take the points because that’s what we want and we want to beat our local rivals because rivalry is good. That little bit of tribalism is good and I want us to go there and show what a good team we are."
On being able to rotate the squad heading into the weekend
"We’ve had very good continuity within the squad. There was a lot of change in my first year here, but since then, there’s been minimal change. We’ve had to replace guys who have retired and some guys have moved on but not many and we think we’ve replaced and recruited well.
"We like to think we’re well coached and we do what we do. Even when we’re not great like last week, we’re capable of staying in games and winning them. We’ve got to do that this weekend. They’re a good side and there’s a lot of threat about them. Their forward pack is probably playing as good as they’ve played, their line-out drive and defence is very good, they’ve scrummaged very well against the French teams in the last couple of rounds. So it’s hopefully going to be a feisty contest and one that we will hopefully remember for the right reasons."
"I will pick what I think is the best team to win this weekend. There may be a little bit of change from last week because there were nine changes in that team but I have more than 15 good players, the back row in particular. We are starting to get some good depth in midfield – not that they are all available – and good depth at nine and 10. Back three there is lots of depth as well.
"I think we have shown that if we rotate the team we can still win and that builds trust in players that come in and would not necessarily be front-line players but have played very well. They will get the opportunity again. The reality is that where possible I will pick the best team to beat Glasgow."
On Glasgow being under more pressure at home
"I imagine they’re not particularly comfortable because they need to win games to sit well in the conference. They are a team that normally sits high in the conference and that relieves pressure because every time you play, you don’t have to win so you play with a bit more ease. Every time you play and you have to win, it puts pressure on teams. Same with us, we have to win because we want to take the points because the teams around us in our conference are very close.
"Everybody is under pressure to win games. We are a third for a reason through, so there are lots of games to go and lots of twists and turns around Six Nations selections and all those things and who you play during those periods as well.
"I don't think there is pressure on either team, they are used to winning and they are used to being more comfortable in the league. We are not overly used to winning and we we are never comfortable in the league. We are comfortable with where we are at on our improvement curve, we are playing some good rugby and the depth of our squad is good. As ever, the sum of our parts is far more important than the individual. The collective is far more important to us as Edinburgh – as far as individual players go we have some very good quality but our togetherness and us playing as a one unit is more important than individuals. Historically they have been based around individuals rather than the collective.
On discipline being a factor in Saturday's match
"We want it to be hard, we don't want to compromise ourselves by being too nice, the Edinburgh players can be quite nice, polite public schoolboys. Those rough Glaswegians are a bit different to us so we want to make sure we won't be intimidated, we want to he physical and we want do what we want to do.
"Two good forward packs, two teams that drive very well. Two teams that, when they get into the opposition 22 generally come away with points. Discipline is going to have to be good. I don't want it to be guys in the sin bin or sent off because it want it to be a good hard-fought game and as long as we win, it will be a good day."
On the re-signing of George Taylor
“He has had an opportunity this year to get more starts than he thought he would because of injury. He has come through the academy and has taken his opportunity. He now has the chance to stay longer and keep playing and do it on a more regular basis.
“It is more than a one year contract. The key part is when you get the opportunity you have to take them. He has his opportunity and taken it. I have no problems in bringing players to play in the first team. They have to seize their opportunity. Just because you come through the academy or or are Scottish doesn’t mean you get the chance to play for Edinburgh. You need to show something about what you are about as a player and George has done that. I have no interest if he is Scottish or not. He is a good kid who has played well. He deserved his opportunity to play so i was keen to extend his contract.
"He would see himself as a 13 and he has turned out a good 12 for us. He can play either position well and is very physical. He has filled that role very well for us and with Dean and Scott missing and he has been tough with the ball and without the ball and has not shown any nerves or being overawed by some big teams over the last couple of weeks. It has a bit of devil about him and wants to be as good as he can be."