Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill bans video nasties

Despite being the bottom club in Conference B of the Guinness Pro14, Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill insists a league cannot be  judged after only four matches. Picture: SNS.
Despite being the bottom club in Conference B of the Guinness Pro14, Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill insists a league cannot be judged after only four matches. Picture: SNS.
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Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill will resist the temptation to make his players watch a video nasty this week as they prepare for a crucial Guinness Pro14 home clash with Benetton 
on Friday.

The capital side defeated Cardiff Blues and the Dragons to get things off to a flying start under Cockerill in 2017-18.

They were then brought back down to earth with a big bump in round three, losing to the Italian side 20-17 at Myreside last September with a lacklustre showing.

In a way it was a watershed moment for the squad and it seemed to galvanise them as they went on to make the Pro14 play-offs.

However, Cockerill will not be making his players watch that awful 80 minutes again in the coming days, insisting his side need to look forward and not back and do not need any “extra motivation”.

“No, we won’t be watching the loss to them from last year again,” he said. “I don’t think we need any extra motivation, I just think we need to play how we can play and I think we’re a different team to his time 
last year. We’ve got to show that bit of steel about us and play with confidence. Last year Benetton were the third best away team in the competition, so they won some games. They’re a very good side and getting better.”

Cockerill has urged people not to judge his side after four games of this season.

With only one win from the first month of action they find themselves bottom of 
Conference B.

However, there is no panic in the Edinburgh ranks according to Cockerill ahead of the meeting with the Italians at BT Murrayfield.

His side then host South African outfit the Cheetahs seven days later in the capital as they look to build momentum ahead of the Champions Cup opener away to Montpellier on 
13 October.

“We’ve had a tough start, two away games first up and three in four overall on the road,” Cockerill said. “I don’t think you can judge any league on four games because some teams have had easier fixtures.

“Some teams have played three at home, which is more helpful, because you get momentum and you get three wins and, if you’re on 12 or 13 points going into the next game, there’s a little less 
pressure.

“The next two weeks we need to get points out of the games, for sure.

“I think we have played pretty well. You can find negatives – won one from four, bottom of the Conference etc – but if we continue to play as we have been playing we will get results.

“We have two home games now and we need to win them. You need to win your home games if you have ambition in this competition.

“Although we didn’t get the result [a 31-7 reverse] over in Leinster at the weekend and parts of the game didn’t go as we would have liked, we went to Dublin and it was a tough contest for both teams. For us, that’s a step in the right 
direction.

“We’ve got to compete in that company and we haven’t previously. Two years ago Edinburgh went there and got absolutely smashed [39-10] and it was just a procession.

“Well, now we’re going to these places and it’s not. Teams are having to treat us properly and prepare properly. They know they need to play well to get past us. That’s a really good foundation for us to work from.”

Meanwhile, Cockerill does not believe Pierre Schoeman acted with any malice on Saturday, but agrees that his red card was the correct decision.

The South African loosehead prop – who was banned for six weeks for biting in his native country back in April – will find out the length of his ban tomorrow.

The head coach stated: “In the way things are looked at now I think it was a red card.

“He has made contact with the guy’s [Dan Leavy] neck to chin area and he has had to leave the field.

“I don’t think it is intentional, he has genuinely gone in to fend the guy off, but is a difficult one. It is something that the law makers will have to look at because the tackling player is stood upright and he is tackling with his chest and made that part a target to defend.

“We know if you make contact with that part of the body [head] then there will be a sanction. It is a fair enough card. He is a bit unlucky, I don’t think there is any malice in it. I just think he has caught him and unfortunately rules are rules and the likes of Allan Dell and Rory Sutherland, pictured, will now get a chance at loosehead.”