Press Pass: Cockerill on Bordeaux

Press Pass: Cockerill on Bordeaux

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with press ahead of this weekend's Challenge Cup Quarter-Final against Bordeaux Bègles at Stade Chaban Delmas.

How have the squad been since the Ulster defeat?

"We have had a good review and we have just got to get out on the training field and get better. We have got to learn from what was a very disappointing result. Parts of it were very good but we are not going to make any excuses for ourselves.

"We have had a good review, we are very clear on what we need to do moving forward and it's back out on the training field and out it right. That's the only thing you can do, get out there, dust yourself off and get better.

"They are hurting but it's one thing to say it, we have now got to go and work hard and prove we can do what we say we are going to do. It's easy to say we are disappointed, easy to say that it hurts, but we should have got it right. I'm still no different in my thought processes from post-game, we should have been better, no excuses, including myself, we should win those types of games considering the position we put ourselves in.

"It wasn't as if we turned up and were poor from start to finish, there were some very good bits to our game, but when we were poor we were very poor and it cost us. We have got to make better decisions in those moments."

What lessons did you take from the two pool stage fixtures against Bordeaux?

"Bordeaux are a very good team, we have played them twice already this season. If COVID-19 hadn't come along, they probably would have been champions of France because they were the best team by far. We have an opportunity to play a very good side, put our best foot forward and keep improving.

"But clearly Bordeaux are a very good team and we just need to make sure we play as well as we can. There's probably very little pressure on us which, as you know, probably suits us a bit. But we have got to get better, we have to put out a quality performance and we will need to do that to stay in the game against a very good team.

"One, we are good enough to compete with them and beat them if we get it right. Here at BT Murrayfield we drew 16-16 and it was one of those games that was very tight. Away from home they were good but there were small moments. We probably took a slightly mixed team to the away game, which we found tough at times but it's no different to Ulster or any of those big games we have played in: tiny moments.

"We have got to make sure we keep them out of our half, they are a big powerful side. The French have got big squads, they can pick two forward packs that would compete with any pack in Europe, they have a very good back line, a very good kicking game, they are very well organised.

“But we know if we do what we do well, we execute, we are accurate, we are good enough to more than compete and stay in the game and we go there to try and get a result, it's as simple as that."

What sort of team will you look to select this weekend?

“I will pick the best team that is available and I think is ready to win the game. We have some positions of depth, but I will pick what I think is the best team of guys to play in the Quarter-Final.

"I don't think we've ever underplayed being in Europe, whether it is the challenge cup or the premier competition. We have always wanted to do well in Europe and always wanted to win. I don't think we are a good enough team historically to start picking and choosing competitions. We are in two and we want to go as far as we can in both.

"We are not the finished article where we can pick and choose. We have to go to Bordeaux and test ourselves again and keep improving our game because it is not good enough yet."

Will this Edinburgh team be going all out for success on the European stage?

"I think we should. We are not starting ourselves for the start of the season. If we got through this weekend we will have a Semi-Final away at Bristol - you would have thought. Then we start the season. Then there is two weeks of the season then the Final so it is all a bit strange.

"Our season is going to roll from one end to the other. We started 22 August and have to go all the way through 'till next June. It's just the way it is."

What will show you that this team is back on track?

“We want to go there and win and hope we have the team and plan to go there and do that. Not outstanding we could play our best game and so could they and they could just be the best team.

"The quality of our performance will be very important to us. If we get that we give ourselves an opportunity to win it. I like to think if we are in the battle then we will be able to make good enough decisions to win the game. What is progress for us? Winning the competition or competing and pushing Bordeaux to the death? To me it is a bit of both really.”

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