1872 Cup | Coach's Preview
Head Coach Richard Cockerill insists his squad need to ‘believe in themselves’ as they prepare to face Glasgow Warriors in the final 1872 Cup derby at Scotstoun this Saturday.
The capital side head into the final round of Guinness PRO14 fixtures knowing that only a bonus-point win will give them a chance to qualify for the Final Series, while they will need to better the result of Scarlets to secure a fourth-place play-off for the final Heineken Champions Cup spot.
However, with the game at Scotstoun the last to kick-off on a hectic day of Guinness PRO14 fixtures, Edinburgh will know exactly what they need to achieve on the night.
“There’s obviously a lot of games happening before we play, so we’ll know exactly what we need to do before the match,” said Cockerill.
“Certainly, for a top-three position we’re relying other results but for us to finish fourth and qualify for Europe via a play-off, it’s in our own hands.
“We’ll of course be supporting Zebre and Dragons and if results go against us we’ve at least got to match what Scarlets do, so there’s everything to play for.
“Kicking-off at a late time is obviously helpful for us, but Glasgow are desperate to win as well to secure a home Semi-Final and have an easier passage to a Final in their home city.”
The permutations for this weekend’s round of fixtures have been set since Edinburgh suffered a disappointing home defeat to Ulster a fortnight ago.
And whilst that loss left Cockerill frustrated, the Head Coach insists that it was results earlier in the season that have come back to bite his squad ahead of this weekend’s final 1872 Cup match-up.
“We’d of course much rather have it in our own hands. Ulster was a disappointing performance for us, but it’s not down to that one game.
“There are lots of games where we should have done better, especially in the international windows – but this is what it comes down to.
“There’s result against Cardiff, Southern Kings and Dragons where we should have done better, but that’s what we have to keep developing as a squad.
“There’s lots of things round the season for us. We have double the amount of Test players than we did two years ago and we’re back playing at the top table of European rugby and that’s taken a toll on is.
“We just have to keep learning how to play at this level and back it up week to week – it’s as simple as that.”
“We’re still moving forward – probably a bit slower than some would hope – but I think we’re a better side than we were this time last year, and we certainly are a better team than we were two years ago. So, we have to keep building on that.”
Edinburgh now find themselves in the same situation as last year – heading into the final 1872 Cup derby with play-off aspirations on the line.
That match ended 24-19 in favour of the capital side, but now Cockrill takes his squad to Scotstoun in a match he describes as a ‘proper derby day.’
“We have to go there and win with a bonus-point for a chance to qualify for Europe. Glasgow are a good side and they are a confidence team – and right now they are playing with plenty of confidence.
“They are top two in their pool and they may well top their pool for the second straight year because they’ve got very good players.
“But we know we can compete at that level and we’ve shown that this season. But we’ve got to do it again. We’re going to Scotstoun to win.
“We’ve had a good run against them and we’ve to keep believing in ourselves. We’ll go to play our game and we’ll make sure we impose ourselves on them. I’m sure they are saying the same and we’ll both go out to make it a proper derby day again.”