Richard Cockerill rejects Rennie’s idea of crowning Leinster Pro14 champions

Edinburgh coach also dismisses Sean Maitland speculation

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill. Picture: SNS

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill has dismissed outgoing Glasgow counterpart Dave Rennie’s suggestion that Leinster should just be handed the title for this season’s indefinitely suspended Guinness Pro14 season.

The Irish province were 13 wins from 13 in Conference A at the time of lockdown, while Edinburgh had battled their way to the top of Conference B.

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With all up in the air due to the coronavirus crisis, Rennie, who leaves Glasgow at the end of June to become coach of Australia, suggested the other week that the best solution may just be to hand the dominant Irish province and holders Leinster the crown.

“That’s his personal view. As you can imagine, it is not one that I agree with,” said Cockerill. “Leinster are a great side, they’ve had a fantastic season to this point, but the beauty of sport is that on any given day good things happen – that’s the romantic side of sport. There is no reason why an Edinburgh can’t beat them, or an Ulster or a Munster or a Glasgow.

“I have no doubt that any of those sides are capable of beating each other. So, for me, if we can get any resolution to the season – whatever that looks like – I would love that to happen. Some way shape or form around the play-offs, to give all those six teams who are in the play-off places, a chance to potentially go head to head and get a champion.”

Cockerill is well aware, however, that getting this Pro14 season finished presents serious challenges.

“I think [SRU chief operating officer] Dominic McKay has been clear that the Pro14 want to do everything they can to get this season concluded, and they are working as hard as they can to do that. We’re all waiting to see what we can do to get back to training, but we’re in that holding pattern, aren’t we? We’re all waiting to see what the government’s next move might look like.”

Cockerill also dismissed any suggestion that experienced Scotland wing Sean Maitland may be joining from crisis-hit English giants Saracens. The 31-year-old had been linked with a move to Scotland following Sarries’ relegation, with Glasgow in particular understood to be interested. However, reports now suggest the 48-times capped New Zealand-born wing is set to stick with the north London club.

“We have never had any contact with Sean Maitland. It was never an option for us,” said Cockerill.

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