Press Pass: Bordeaux Preview
Hear from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with the press ahead of Saturday's trip to face Bordeaux-Begles in round five of the Challenge Cup.
On Edinburgh's priorities heading into a European weekend
“We’re top of our conference after ten rounds, which means sod all, doesn’t it? I think we’ll just try and go as far in both as we can. I think it’s very dangerous to say we’ll prioritise one over another, because you can easily fall on your backside in either.
“We’ve rotated the squad more this year and I’m learning more about the players all the time. Players have stood up and done well when they’ve had their opportunity and there will be changes again this week.
“I’ll pick what is the best team for us, for here and now, but also the bigger picture. A lot of the Test guys have played World Cup, there’s a tough Six Nations coming starting with Ireland away, then England here. I’ve got to make sure there’s still some gas in their tanks when they come back to us and, hopefully, we’ve done a good enough job through the Six Nations period that we’re still cemented in that [Pro14 Conference B] top three and we can kick on again.
“I want us to be quarter-finals in the Challenge Cup but Bordeaux have been the form team in France, a really hard competition to play in and they’ve been consistent. They’ve played 13, won ten, lost two and drawn one. It’s a pretty impressive record and they have some pretty good players. So my job is to manage my team, go there and get as many points as we can, and give some guys an opportunity to play in a really big game.”
On the threat of Bordeaux-Begles
"Christophe Urios is a very good coach, they look very well organised, their recruitment has been smart. Whoever they pick, they play with similar bodies in those positions.”
"They’re a very big physical team. Forty-five of their players are big and physical, that’s what money buys you. I think we’ve got to be smart in how we play, smart in selection and smart around our tactics. We probably should have beaten them at home. We had opportunities and let that slip. It probably shows what a good performance the home game was. We’ve since seen in the year what a good side Bordeaux. So, suddenly, that 16-16 looks a pretty good result.
“With the squad we’ve got, to just go to Bordeaux and take them on physically across the board wouldn’t be overly smart. I think we’ve got to be smart in how we play. Of course there are parts of the game where you’ve got to front up and match them, but we can be a little bit smart in how we approach the game and make sure we don’t get into an arm wrestle that suits them more than it suits us.”
On what Edinburgh learned in France last season
“I think it proved if we can cope physically we’re good enough to compete skill-wise with any side. Even in the quarter-final against Munster, we were certainly good enough to win the game, and we’ve got to learn to win those narrow games. I wouldn’t fear going anywhere in a quarter-final away from home in this competition. If we have everybody fit and available, and we can pick our best team from one to 23 or 24 or 25 or 26, I think we’ve got a good enough squad to beat anybody.
“I’m hoping we get to a quarter-final and we go to Leicester in an away tie. That would be perfect for me. “I think it’s a game you have to win if you want to finish top. I think five points out of these two games will probably qualify us for a quarter-final somewhere.”
“Yeah, of course, but we’ve played three quarter-finals in the last three years at home and we’ve lost all of them. I think it’s probably time to go away!"