Richard Cockerill reflects on an impressive Edinburgh win and targets home semi-final

‘We played more than I’d have liked at times’ says coach
Edinburgh's Nick Haining, clashes with Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson. Picture: Ross Parker / SNSEdinburgh's Nick Haining, clashes with Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS
Edinburgh's Nick Haining, clashes with Glasgow Warriors' Ryan Wilson. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill praised his side for a much-improved second half, which took the 1872 Cup away from rivals Glasgow for a third straight year with a 2-1 series win and secured that all-important semi-final spot as the Guinness Pro14 gets back up and running with restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cockerill is now focused on backing up the 30-15 win next week and ensuring that last-four game is back at BT Murrayfield as winners of Conference B.

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“It was a really good win. I’m happy to get the result and we can play a lot better. I’m sure Glasgow will feel the same,” said the Englishman.

“There is lots to review and get better at but we’re very happy to be in a semi-final. We’ve worked hard at the breakdown knowing that it’s going to be important and we’ve got some guys who do it very, very well.

“Both sides wanted to play. We played more than I’d have liked us to at times, but it’s a good result. We knew we’d have to play for 80 minutes. We didn’t panic too much at half-time: we’d let them into our half too easily two times and they’d scored.”

Speaking before the Irish derby which followed the Scottish one, Cockerill was hoping that home tie would be secured before Friday’s fourth derby of the season.

“Hopefully Munster will lose tonight and we’re in for a home semi-final. We can then manage our squad differently, but if we have to come fully loaded next week to be at home, then we’ll do our best,” he said.

“We did some really good things and some really poor things. But what I’m really happy with is the character of the team to stay in the battle and keep working. There was some good impact off the bench. We have to go and review and get better for next week.”

Cockerill admitted that home advantage in the semi-finals could only be a positive.

“I don’t know what the stats are, but I reckon if you’re at home you win the most. I’m not sure there will be a partisan crowd but home comforts are always good, we’ve got a good record here and if we’ve earned the right to a have a home semi I hope we can play at Murrayfield because of what we’re doing, what Mark Dodson and the union have done to get crowds in the door.”

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It was a chastening first game in charge for new Glasgow Warriors coach Danny Wilson but he hopes to see a reaction on Friday night despite having nothing left to play for.

“It’s a derby, so we give that the full respect a derby deserves. If there’s supporters in at that game as well, then that’s another reason for us to give it all the respect it deserves,” said Wilson.

“At the same time, for me and the coaching group, we’ll get a chance to look at other combinations, maybe. It’s trying to balance that and trying to win a game at the same time.

“Today was my first look at some combinations while coaching the team, and next week will be the same with maybe a few others. But ultimately we want to come here and get a win first and foremost – we want to turn that result around.”

Wilson added: “I think there were a couple of areas we’ll look back and be frustrated with. First of all, it was a scrappy old game from the two sides, which you’d probably anticipate in the first hit out. We failed to really build any pressure in phases – a lot of that was breakdown work in that Edinburgh’s defensive breakdown was pretty accurate.”

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