Press Pass: April update with Richard Cockerill

Press Pass: April update with Richard Cockerill

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he this week provided an update to the media regarding the league, club and players.

On his mindset regarding the Guinness PRO14 and its resumption

“I think we’ve all got a pretty open mind. We’re hoping that in some way, shape or form we can have a conclusion to the season, because a lot of hard work has gone in from everybody.

“The health of everybody is far more important and we’ll go with the government guidelines around all of that, for obvious reasons. But if we can, if it means we’re playing in July and August, or August, or later on, and then we just roll into next season, because that’s how this makes the financial model of the game work, and we can all get the thing up and running and we can all make it efficient again and we can all pay the bills.

"I’m hoping that we get to play some rugby, but not to the detriment of everything else that’s going on, which is clearly far more important. But at some point, the world has got to get back on its feet and start earning again, which obviously at the moment it’s not.”

On John Barclay and next season

“John will not be with us next season. Unless we play before 1 July I would assume that he has played his last game unfortunately.

“When he has been fit and available, he has a lot of experience and he has played well for us. But we do have a fantastic stable of young Scottish back-rowers who are coming through and the evolution of the squad is such that the back row is a very competitive position with lots of young players there.

“We'd like to thank John for his hard work. I think he has every intention of playing on, as far as I know.”

On recruitment moving forward

"We are probably about 95 per cent done recruitment-wise. If we don't recruit another player between now and the start of next season we’ll be more than happy with what we've got.

"We have a small bit of budget left to potentially go into the market, but at the moment it is not the right thing to be doing financially. We will just sit tight and see where we get to. It is about keeping our squad together and building on what we have got.”

On the possibility of an instant PRO14 Final

"We are fortunate that we sit in the position we do, but there are still eight rounds of rugby to go with some very good teams, like Munster and Scarlets in our conference and Ulster in the other one. They would feel pretty aggrieved.

“Whatever the outcome, the process of getting a resolution to the season is not going to be ideal. Personally, if you were going to go down that route, it would probably be better to have Quarters, Semis and Finals with the top three from each conference.

“But we are all guessing when we will be allowed to have public gatherings or play behind closed doors or anything else. I'm sure there will be, if possible, the fittest and best way to get this up and running.

“We want it up and running because we want the game to remain viable and we want to have a spectacle that people want to come and watch. From a Scottish point of view, we want to keep the game alive and make sure we get back on our feet as soon as we can.”

On how he is dealing with lockdown

“I’ve dusted my bicycle out of the shed and have been doing miles on the bike. Doing a little bit of work and preparing for if we come back and looking at pre-season too if we don’t end up doing anything 'till August or September or whenever that is.

“The kids are educating themselves at home because I am no help at all and I’m just watching rugby and putting stuff together that will help us when we get back in. Just keeping fit and getting fresh air as and when I can.”

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