Press Pass: Warriors preview with Cockerill

Press Pass: Warriors preview with Cockerill

Get the latest from Head Coach Richard Cockerill as he spoke with press ahead of Friday night's 1872 Cup derby against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.

On the squad's health heading into Friday night's derby

“Everyone is pretty good. We should have some guys back – Grant Gilchrist is fit to play and Andrew Davidson as well, so some reinforcements in the second row.”

On expectations ahead of the trip to Scotstoun

“You’ll expect a reaction from Glasgow for obvious reasons – no one likes to lose, especially in a derby.

"We go to Scotstoun which is a difficult place to go, if not quite as tough with no supporters there.

"They are a good team and we have a huge amount of respect for them as a team and a coaching group.”

On Grant Gilchrist's return to fitness and second-row selection

“Grant has worked very hard, he’s recovered very well, he’s been with us training the last couple of weeks, doing most stuff.

"He was very close to playing last week but wasn’t quite right, not quite comfortable in himself to play. But he has trained the last couple of days and is ready to go.

"He’s been training well - we’ve got good rehab and good conditioners working on all parts of his fitness that have been possible. There is lots he can do without being on his feet running.

"Like Davidson, Gilchrist will come back into the reckoning [for Friday]. Obviously Toolis was very good at the weekend. Jamie Hodgson has done very well, Ferreira too.

"So when we’ve got everyone fit we’ve got a decent stock, and there is also Lewis Carmichael due to come back.

“We clearly weren’t good enough in the lineout and it’s going to be an important part of our game. We had key positions where we couldn’t win the ball and that hurt us so we need to get it right this weekend.”

On any concerns around player departures

“There's not really concern. In the next few days and weeks we’ll announce guys who are coming and others who are re-signing. It’s just market forces.

"We put forward a more than competitive offer to Duhan. He’s chosen not to accept that to go elsewhere. That’s the economics of it. We have to respect his decision.

"We have him for the next months and he’ll still be coming back to play for Scotland hopefully. But it opens the door for someone else.

"We’ve done some deals and there are a few others still to do. There are no guarantees in any sport that everyone is going to stay.

"But I can assure people that we will still have a strong squad of guys who will make Edinburgh a good team going forward and will provide players for Scotland."

On taking a measured view on recruitment

"It's not all doom and gloom in any shape or form. We are a strong squad, we will try and keep as many payers as we can to reinforce us in certain positions, some Scottish-qualified, some non-SQ.

"Some of those guys will come from the Premiership so maybe there's going to be a mass exodus of guys from the Premiership to Scottish rugby.

"I think you have to take a measured view and let the dust settle. I understand why guys go and do other things. Some of that is just personal choice. I did it myself as a player, moved and had different experiences, and that's the way of the world.

"The world is smaller than it's ever been. We will be in a good place. We will have our challenges for sure because to keep your best Scottish players with smaller budgets that means when they all go away to play Test matches we will be more compromised than we have been in the previous three years.

"That's life and you have to take that into the context of no crowds and Covid. The whole world is taking a little bit of a hit. All of us have to manage that sensibly.

On recruiting players to Edinburgh

“To be honest, I’ve never had a problem trying to attract players to Edinburgh Rugby at all. They are always positive conversations and since I’ve been here we’ve always been an attractive proposition to players to come.

"I don’t see Edinburgh as a poor relation to other teams. I think the way we’ve set up our environment here, after the first year or so we’ve had players coming in and improving out of sight. It shows we’ve got a pretty strong, robust environment that creates good rugby players.

"Look at the guys who have come in and look at the guys that were here who were floundering when I arrived and who are now fully fledged Test players for Scotland and starting every week.

"Guys like Duhan who have been called one of the world’s best wingers and is going for a big money move. We’ve got a strong environment and people recognise that and there are lots of guys who would be interested in joining that.”

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