Press Pass: Sharks Preview with Cockerill

Press Pass: Sharks Preview with Cockerill

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with press to preview this Saturday's trip to face Sale Sharks in the Heineken Champions Cup.

On bouncing back against Sale Sharks

“We need to win because we didn’t win at the weekend. Teams are getting bonus points so you can’t afford to lose two games and still qualify for the Quarter-Finals.

"Sale are a good side who have invested heavily over the last two seasons. But we’re a good side too and we’ll go there with the team that we think will give us the best opportunity to win the game. We go there with optimism and fully prepared to win.”

On facing better resourced teams in the Champions Cup

“We have to play with the card we’ve been dealt. We’ve got good players and a good squad. But I think you have to be careful not to just take a snapshot in time around the Autumn Nations Cup during a period of Covid that’s unprecedented.

“It’s not a normal season is it? We had a week off and then went from one season to the next. And then a lot of our Test guys have only played two or three games for us this season. If that was going to be the normality then of course you’d be a bit more concerned. But that’s not going to be the case.

"Covid will pass and hopefully we’ll have a good format for the Pro 14/16. And if South Africa teams come in there’s a lot to be positive around about TV rights and then we get crowds back on. And suddenly things start to look a bit more positive.

“When things are good we have to understand why they’re good. And when they are tough we have to show a bit of character and work through it. Would we have liked to have won more games? Yes, we would. And we would have liked to have won on Saturday.

"But we gave a good account of ourselves against a team with a budget three times bigger than ours. So we’re doing something right. We just have to keep working hard in improving our game.”

On staying positive after defeat to La Rochelle

“At the weekend we played the best team in France and were five points short at the death trying to win the game.

“So it depends on how you look at things. Of course there are going to be some grumbles. That’s just the nature of the world we live in. We’re just going to keep working hard at our game.

“There’s a lot to be positive around Scottish rugby. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and trying to get better.”

On the health of Scottish rugby

“Scotland lost a couple of tough games against good opposition, before that it was five on the bounce and everyone was telling us how good our strength in depth was, so it is how you want to play the narrative.

“We’ve not started as well as we’d like in the league as an Edinburgh team, however we’ve had 13 or 14 guys playing I the international team, so if you don’t understand what that actually looks like.

“If you look at the English Premiership, there is nobody losing 14 players to go and play Test matches. It isn’t unique to us – there are two or three clubs in the PRO14 who have these issues."

On keeping players at the club and competing

“We want to be competitive as an Edinburgh team. Guys want to play for their country and this is a good place to be to play for Scotland. We’re all here to compete but there is only one team that can win a trophy each year in the Pro14 so there are always going to be 13 who will be disappointed.

“We’re not going to be a team who buys 30 superstars and wins the trophy in 12 months’ time. We’ve got to build our squad and keep it together. That may be difficult at times because all teams, unless you’re Toulon or xxxx, you are always vulnerable to others trying to recruit your players. That’s the nature of the business

“We’ve recruited well, we’ve managed to keep our squad together and as we saw on Saturday against a very good side when we’ve got players available and we are all fit and healthy we are more than capable of competing."

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