Richard Cockerill knows that first piece of silverware would be huge for Edinburgh

Capital coach has made huge progress but wants tangible reward

Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU
Edinburgh Rugby head coach Richard Cockerill. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS/SRU

When Richard Cockerill was appointed Edinburgh coach back in 2017, Glasgow were the nation’s dominant force having become the first Scottish side to claim a major trophy in the professional era with their Pro12 triumph two years earlier.

But the balance of power has now swung towards the other end of the M8 with Edinburgh top of Conference B and on the brink of the play-offs, and third-placed Glasgow off the pace in Conference A.

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However, you will not find Cockerill declaring his side the finished article.

“We’re not a team with a huge history of success, are we?” said the former England hooker as he looked forward to Scottish rugby re-emerging from the five-month Covid-19 lockdown on Saturday for the first of two derby clashes which will conclude the Guinness Pro14 regular season.

“The reality is that we’ve done well for us but we haven’t won any trophies and we haven’t got any historic silverware in the cabinet,” added Cockerill, who hopes “positive” talks with the Scottish Rugby Union can be concluded within the next few weeks over a new contract.

“We just need to keep out feet on the ground and keep building what we’re doing.

“Glasgow have won the competition. They’ve been in finals and semi-finals so they have that bit of pedigree that we don’t have. We’re building that. For us to win our first piece of silverware would be huge.

“We’re miles better than when we started three years ago in terms of how we operate, the players we have, the squad and amount of internationals we have.

“If we have everybody fit and healthy we’ve got a good enough squad to compete with the Munsters, Ulsters, Glasgows, Scarlets and Leinsters of this world.

“There are some big budgets and big players in those teams and we’re not quite at that level yet but we’re certainly punching above our weight.”

Saturday’s Murrayfield battle will see new coach Danny Wilson take charge of Glasgow for the first time but the former Scotland forwards coach will be on just as familiar terms with Edinburgh given his two-year stint assisting Gregor Townsend with the national side.

Cockerill knows there are no secrets any more between Warriors and Edinburgh and Wilson will know exactly which strings should be pulled as Glasgow seek to unpick a pack containing Scotland internationals Stuart McInally, Grant Gilchrist, Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson. But of more pressing concern to the Edinburgh coach is the knowledge that his side require a solitary point to book a semi-final berth, with Glasgow requiring a miracle to reach the play-offs.

He said: “Am I concerned that Danny knows my pack inside out? No, not really. He sat in plenty of my meetings as well when he was in the Scotland camp.

“There’s no secrets – it’s who can hit the ground ready to go first. We’re ready and primed. Physically we’ll be good.

“Danny’s a good coach. He’s probably not playing for the play-offs, so his agenda may be different.

“He may look at the bigger picture whereas I’ll look at the shorter term of trying to win to get into a semi-final, then you’re a semi and a final from being champions.

“Of all the four teams that are left in it, as we like it we may well be the underdogs. That’ll suit us and we’ll see how good we are.”

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