Cockerill previews Benetton clash
Head Coach Richard Cockerill has described this weekend’s match away to second-place Benetton as ‘must win’ as his side seek to secure a place in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.
Edinburgh travel to Treviso four points behind the Italian outfit in fourth place, but a win at Stadio Comunale di Monigo would put the capital side level on points with their Conference B rivals.
“It’s a huge game for us, and it’s a huge game in the context of the conference. We’ve had a couple of defeats in the last few games and they are four points above us. We need to win. We’ve got five games left against Benetton, Leinster, Scarlets, Ulster and Glasgow – so it’s a tough run for us.
“Benetton are a good side. On league form, they are the third best form team after Munster and Leinster. They haven’t lost many games and they have picked off some big scalps in the league recently in Glasgow and Scarlets. They had a huge win against Dragons at the weekend as well.
“It’s all for us to do. But the momentum of our season will swing if we can go there and win. We still have a few missing and I’d expect they will have quite a few missing as well. It will be a very tough match, but we need to go there and win. That’s the reality of the game and that’s our objective. We’ve got to be hungry to go there and win.”
Cockerill’s match preview came on day that the club confirmed the re-signing of Fijian star Viliame Mata.
The European Rugby Player of the Year nominee put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension that will see him remain in the capital until at least 2021 – a deal that Cockerill described as a ‘huge stride’ for the club.
“Edinburgh, as a club, is taking huge strides in the right direction. We’ve got to keep our best players. That’s the reality of any team, you can’t let your best players leave.
“Bill is very happy here. He came as world class 7s player, and in the environment that he’s in here, he’s now a world class 15-a-side player.
“We’re delighted to have him for the next two and-a-half years, and like any player, we’re going to do everything to keep our best players here.
“Bill is great. He suits the way we play, and how he plays too. And hopefully he is one of many signings and re-signings that makes this team stronger for next season.”
Edinburgh face Benetton at Stadio Comunale di Monigo on Saturday 2 March (kick-off 3pm GMT) – live on Premier Sports 2.