Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill is “disappointed” with the situation regarding his club captain Magnus Bradbury, who was involved in an incident last Saturday night which has seen him excluded from the squad, but won’t deal with it fully until next week after the team have returned from their European game in Moscow.
Bradbury hurt his head while on a night out and was unable to play in the weekend’s win at London Irish and will not play again until an internal inquiry into the incident has been concluded.
The 22-year-old has two Scotland caps and is the son of SRU vice-president Dee Bradbury, who will become the first female president of a leading national governing body next season. He injured himself during a night out with friends in Edinburgh city centre.
“I think it’s important that we find out all the facts around the situation, see what exactly went on, and then we’ll deal with it appropriately,” said Cockerill yesterday. The coach spoke at length about the matter, which has overshadowed Edinburgh’s trip to the Russian capital to face Siberian side Krasny Yar in Pool 4 of the Challenge Cup.
“I’m disappointed,” he added. “You need to find out the facts behind what happened. It may be innocent and maybe it was an accident – or we might find out that it’s not. Until I find out all the facts I’ll reserve judgment. But I’m disappointed that a player would put himself in that position.
“It was a Saturday night, the players are adults and they choose what they do. That’s their own responsibility. I’m not going to set curfews or tell them what they can and can’t do – they know what’s acceptable.
“They have to manage themselves. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any problem with anybody going out on a Saturday night and enjoying their social life. That’s just normal. Then clearly if they come into harm’s way they have a responsibility to their team. They’re professional sportsmen.”
Cockerill said that there was no police involvement and that he spoke to a “very contrite” Bradbury last Sunday and, since then, the player has been told to stay away from the squad’s BT Murrayfield base.
“We’re off to Russia on Thursday, so it’s a short training week for us,” continued the coach. “I need to make sure that we’re ready to play rugby. At this moment Magnus isn’t available to play, so he’s down the pecking order of importance. Next week when I have a bit more time, we’ll make sure that all those processes are done correctly and I’ll have that discussion with the player.
“That’s a decision in which employment law is involved, but also there’s some team standards that will be involved. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a major say in what happens.”
Cockerill added: “He took a bang to his head and unfortunately for him he had another bang on the head against Scarlets. We need to manage that for his wellbeing. It’s unhelpful, to say the least. I would like my players to be available to play. Regardless of what went on, there is some responsibility there for the player.”
When Cockerill named his team for the game at London Irish on Friday, six days after the incident, he was questioned about Bradbury’s absence and said then that the player had a “shoulder niggle”.
“I didn’t really want to play this out in the public arena,” was the coach’s explanation for that. “I would prefer to keep it behind closed doors but the world is not like that.”
Former England hooker and Leicester coach Cockerill decided to go with youth in his captaincy decision as he looks to inspire a fresh start for the capital side after taking on the job this season.
Bradbury is a product of Oban Lorne RFC and moved to Merchiston Castle school on a rugby scholarship as a 16-year-old. He signed full terms with Edinburgh two years ago and made his Scotland debut in last year’s autumn Test against Argentina.