Richard Cockerill bemoans poor start against Bordeaux

Date published: September 20 2020

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill bemoaned an error-strewn opening 10 minutes from his team as they were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Bordeaux-Begles.

The Scottish capital side gave it everything in France despite a nightmare start which saw them fall 14-0 down.

Edinburgh weathered the storm to go into the break 14-3 behind and, although they rallied even further in the second period with a try from Damien Hoyland, it was not enough for victory as they lost 23-14.

“We always want to win these games, but Bordeaux are a very good team and they showed that today,” Cockerill told BBC Scotland. “We had a pretty poor start to the game being 14-0 down, but I thought the lads came back well and worked hard.

“We gave ourselves a shot at winning the game and we weren’t quite good enough, but after such a poor start we have some satisfaction we got back into the game.

“Bill Mata fumbled the kick-off which is unusual for him. That’s the pressure of games. At this level those are the differences.

“We gave ourselves opportunities and I’m never going to say it’s alright to lose, but today they were better than us and they have a massive squad physically and numbers wise.”

Edinburgh got off to a calamitous start when Santiago Cordero sprinted 40 metres to score in front of a 1,000-strong crowd at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Matthieu Jalibert added the extras and then Jaco van der Walt shanked a routine penalty in the sixth minute to add to Edinburgh’s woes.

Jalibert offloaded in a tackle to centre Jean-Baptiste Dubie for Bordeaux’s second try which he improved to leave Cockerill’s men in real trouble.

Edinburgh stayed in the fight and Van Der Walt cut their deficit with penalties either side of half-time before Hoyland went over following brilliant work by Darcy Graham.

There was a nervous final 10 minutes for the home side when replacement prop Ben Tameifuna went to the sin bin and Blair Kinghorn cut the gap to six points. But Ben Botica confirmed the home win with a penalty from in front of the posts with the last kick of the match.

Bordeaux will now face Bristol and their former team-mate Semi Radradra in the semi-final. Their winger Ben Lam will also face off against his uncle in Bristol director of rugby Pat.

“It’s disappointing as we could and should have done better,” Cockerill added. “But we’ve got to keep learning these lessons and hope in 12 or 24 months we’re talking about winning these games.”