Press Pass: Cockerill keen to give youngsters their chance

Press Pass: Cockerill keen to give youngsters their chance

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with press ahead of Friday night's Guinness PRO14 match against Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield.

How happy were you to have a home Semi-Final against Ulster confirmed?

“I’m happy to get it confirmed as a home semi-final. We knew it was going to be Ulster, but to get it confirmed on Saturday night - that it wasn’t down to points difference, it was games won [over Munster] - and to know we would be at home was pleasing.

"Knowing we can manage and look after our squad this week and be fresh on Monday for a full week’s training to make sure we’re ready for a Semi-Final, which is a first for us and making history for Edinburgh Rugby which is good.”

How will that affect team selection for this Friday night's match against Glasgow Warriors?

“We’ll pick a good team but one that’s right for us really. You don’t want to risk too many front line guys who would eventually in certain positions be a disaster if they were injured for the semi-final. I think we’ve made ten changes for Friday.

"Some of our younger guys will get an opportunity but we’ve got some good depth so some of those starters from last weekend will drop to the bench and give some experience there. We’ve got a good squad and it’s a great opportunity to blood some younger guys and give them some experience.”

How important will it be to have those 700 or so supporters there on Friday night?

“I think it’s nice to get a bit of noise in there. It was a little bit echoey on Saturday as you can imagine or were there.

"So no, it’s good to get supporters in, the start of that and showing that Murrayfield can host supporters and do it safely and make sure we pilot that well and hopefully do the same the week after and start to build crowds little by little so that for us we can maybe get to seven or 8,000 and hopefully for the autumn and Six Nations we’re getting 30,000 plus in there.

"I think it’s a good start and it will be great to have a bit of support. It will be nice that they’ll all be Edinburgh supporters."

What changes will you make this weekend?

“Everybody who’s 100-per-cent fit is in the 23. Any guys who have any issues we have chosen to look after. All our guys are pretty much fit to play but there are some people who are more important for the Semi-Final. Grant Gilchrist won’t play this weekend as we have some senior locks missing and in a game which is effectively immaterial, we don’t want to be risking a player where we don’t have depth in that position.

“There are other guys who’ll come in like Magnus Bradbury who’s getting his first chance to play and Darcy Graham is fit and will play so it gives us an opportunity to look at these guys and give them game time.

“We want as full and as fit a compliment of players as we can going into the Semi-Fnal.

What did you make of last weekend's game after rewatching the tape?

“The game was quite tight and the score flattered us in the end. In that first 20 minutes of the second-half we were okay but we played ourselves into a bit of trouble by how we tried to play.

“Once we got back to how we want to play, knockout rugby to win games, other than just playing to entertain, I thought we took control well. We had a good review on Monday so it’s been a short week as the weather has been less than kind to us.

“We are fresh and the boys are ready to play again and looking forward to it.

What do you expect from Glasgow?

“Glasgow like ourselves will look for a balance, they will also have a few bumps and bruises from pre-season and the weekend. It’s different as they will be desperate to get a win and as a coach, every time you play you want to win. I’m sure they’ll look at a few combinations.

“I’d imagine his side will be more full strength compared to ourselves but that’s okay as if that’s the case it puts the pressure on them to win.

“They have a different agenda and circumstances to ourselves.

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