Referees don't treat Edinburgh fairly, says Cockerill
He had no problems with the red card for prop Michele Rizzo which snuffed out any chance of a fightback, after Edinburgh had clawed their way back into contention, but felt his team were on the wrong end of two try decisions and a 14-6 penalty count was also unfair.
“Letter of the law, whether your arms are up or not, if it is shoulder to head then I suppose you have no choice. Rules is rules, it is what it is and unfortunately for us it was very costly,” he said about Rizzo’s red card.
“I’m pleased with the players’ effort and application because the Scarlets are a good side and if you let them get on the front foot they are very dangerous.
“I thought we were a little bit unfortunate at times. The second try was crossing all day. I don’t know why the referee didn’t go to TMO – we are live on television.
“Unfortunately, because it is Edinburgh, it doesn’t get checked, but a player’s shoulder to head rightly goes to TMO. The third try is a forward pass by a mile and our players are saying the player’s foot was in touch when he made the pass.
“I just want us to be treated fairly as Edinburgh, because we are supposed to lose. That’s how I felt we were refereed, which was disappointing because John Lacey is an international referee and I expect him to referee better than that.
“Referees want respect, so they don’t want players shouting at them, but when players ask them they don’t go to the TMO. The players asked him to look at the second try and he refused. It’s crossing, he affects the inside tackler and that’s a big call because without it you’re 8-7 up at half-time.
“They deserved to win, but scratch two tries off that and it is a bonus point and, on the face of it, a better performance. We worked hard to keep them down to four tries, or, in my opinion, two.”
In particular, Edinburgh attempts to build pressure in the Scarlets 22 were frustrated by penalties, especially at the breakdown where Lacey was clearly happier with the way the Scarlets were operating. Edinburgh did show plenty of spirit, none more so than captain Magnus Bradbury, who had his best game since taking the leadership role, and try-scoring wing Jason Harries back on home turf where he came through the Scarlets age grade system.
“It’s always nice to get over the try line, especially as it was a special one tonight against my home region, but ultimately it’s all in vain because we have lost,” said Harries.
“It was exciting to play here, one I was really looking forward to and relishing. It has been a crazy week of emotions, but you have to keep that in check.
“It was good to see my mates making the effort to turn out, but my family were at a close family wedding so no mum and dad tonight, they were all at the wedding.”
Harries summed up the attitude of the Edinburgh players which pleased the coach. It seems he has learned more about his squad in the last two defeats than he did in the opening two victories.
“Last week was an unacceptable performance. Tonight, I thought parts of our performance were really good because they are a good side with very good players,” said Cockerill.
“It is a tough place to come for any team and we will have a tough Friday night in Leinster next, especially after their result this weekend, but that’s the competition so we have to learn to be able to compete with that.
“We plot and plan on the training field and we have to go to Leinster and have the same mindset because we were second, but we are not that far behind.
“You have to start somewhere and we are starting to make those changes. It will not be easy and it will not be painless. It wasn’t easy tonight and it was a bit painful.”