The sum of the parts was greater than the whole, he said, to illustrate why a side missing 13 players to the Rugby World Cup (12 with Scotland and one with Fiji) and a few more to injury, including centre Matt Scott just before kick-off, could gain this unexpected win.
Left-wing Duhan van der Merwe was a constant thorn in the side of the Cardiff Blues defence, which missed 28 tackles, outside-half Jaco van der Walt kicked 14 points, while centre George Taylor came into the side in place of Scott and set up the match-clinching try for Mark Bennett.
“We have got lots of guys missing, but I thought the sum of our parts and the quality of our work probably was the reason we won,” said Cockerill, pictured.
“And big moments. Van der Merwe’s carry for three points and George Taylor’s line break with Mark Bennett to finish.
“George is a good young player who has been waiting for his opportunity. With Chris Dean injured and Matt Scott pulling out before kick-off because his ankle wasn’t quite right, George wanted to put his best foot forward.
“He did really well, he still has a bit to learn but he is physical and to live in that company is pleasing.
“We go to Leinster next week, we all have as many people missing but they have a production line which is pretty good, then we have Scarlets at home so it does not get any easier at this point.”
The team ethic was summed up by van der Walt, who steered his team into the right areas where he could then kick four penalty goals to add to one conversion to earn the man-of-the-match award.
“We knew it was always going to be difficult coming down here to play, the weather conditions did not make it easy, but we did well, stuck in,” said the outside half, who did not rule out wanting to play for Scotland once he qualifies on residency.
“We have 12 players with Scotland but we have a lot of youngsters coming through and I am very proud of the team tonight.
“Hopefully we can continue this momentum until the Scotland boys come back. We say every week the Scotland boys will have to work to get their places in the team and the way the boys performed tonight – especially the young boys – will make it difficult to get back in the starting line-up.”
An unexpected win away from home for a side missing so many players, Cockerill will be hoping for more of the same in Dublin.