The capital side expect to be without 14 internationals when they host Ulster on Monday, and that’s despite Scotland not having a game this weekend.
The introduction this season of Monday night rugby has hit the Scottish pro sides hard. Mondays and Tuesdays are key training days for Scotland and it means national coach Gregor Townsend is unable to release players back to clubs, even if they are not involved in weekend Test matches.
“They [Scotland] don’t play this weekend so they’ll want a good two days training, Monday and Tuesday, getting all the physical parts done,” said Cockerill, whose club will be without 13 Scotland players and Fiji international Mesu Kunavula against Ulster. “Well, to do that you need players to train with and against, so therein lies the problem.
"The Monday night games are an absolute nightmare for this period for getting guys back because Gregor will want to prepare his 23 as best he can early in the week around the physical part going into whoever they play. You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place - if you release guys back and you don’t prepare properly at Test level you’re going to struggle. And if you don’t release them it doesn’t help the pro teams.
“But it gets decided far above our heads. The Pro14 decided on Mondays and it wasn’t particularly well thought through, was it?”