Richard Cockerill urges players to prove they’re hurting

Date published: September 16 2020

Richard Cockerill wants his Edinburgh players to bounce back with an improved performance against Bordeaux in their Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Edinburgh let slip a 12-point lead before going down to a last-minute penalty in their recent PRO14 semi-final against Ulster at Murrayfield and Cockerill wants his his troops to prove they are hurting after that defeat.

Now they have a more difficult task when they travel to France for Saturday’s clash against the side that led the Top 14 before the lockdown.

Cockerill was frustrated with his players for failing to manage their lead against Ulster and he wants better decision-making in France.

“They are hurting but it’s one thing to say it, we have now got to go and work hard and prove we can do what we say we are going to do,” said the Edinburgh head coach.

“It’s easy to say we are disappointed, easy to say that it hurts, but we should have got it right.

“I’m still no different in my thought processes from post-game, we should have been better, no excuses, including myself, we should win those types of games considering the position we put ourselves in.

“It wasn’t as if we turned up and were poor from start to finish, there were some very good bits to our game, but when we were poor we were very poor and it cost us. We have got to make better decisions in those moments.

“Bordeaux are a very good team, we have played them twice already this season. If Covid hadn’t come along, they probably would have been champions of France because they were the best team by far.

“We have an opportunity to play a very good side, put our best foot forward and keep improving.

“Clearly, we weren’t as far down the development curve as we thought. We let ourselves down against Ulster. But what do we do? Do we pack all our kit away and never play again or do we get out on the pitch and train and work hard and try and get better? It’s as simple as that.

“But clearly Bordeaux are a very good team and we just need to make sure we play as well as we can. There’s probably very little pressure on us which, as you know, probably suits us a bit.

“But we have got to get better, we have to put out a quality performance and we will need to do that to stay in the game against a very good team.”

Edinburgh lost 32-17 in Bordeaux in the pool stages but drew with their opponents in Scotland.

When asked what they could take from those games, Cockerill said: “One, we are good enough to compete with them and beat them if we get it right.

“Here at Murrayfield we drew 16-16 and it was one of those games that was very tight. Away from home they were good but there were small moments.

“We probably took a slightly mixed team to the away game, which we found tough at times but it’s no different to Ulster or any of those big games we have played in: tiny moments.”