Top Cockerill Talking Points Following Montpellier Win
Following a historic victory over Montpellier at BT Murrayfield last night – a win which puts them in to the last eight of the Champions Cup, and gives them a home quarter final – we take a look back at some of the most prominent talking points Edinburgh Head Coach Richard Cockerill discussed post full time.
Edinburgh were able to defeat a strong Montpellier team at BT Murrayfield. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
When looking at the pool Edinburgh were drawn in at the start of the season, it is understandable that Cockerill was not immediately confident that Edinburgh could make it to the last eight.
“No chance. Look, I am delighted we have qualified and the players deserve the credit they are due. It is a big step forward for us as a club. We are still developing, trying to catch the big boys. It was a big win for us to do it last week away [against Toulon] and to come here and beat that side that Montpellier picked is very pleasing.”
The fact that there was a point in the game where Montpellier took the lead, but Cockerill’s men battled back to reclaim the lead in front of a strong home crowd.
“You have to learn those lessons. They get the opportunity to score a try because we did not execute our opportunity to get away from the scrum. They are a big physical side and they punished us.
“We went behind and you could see their physicality coming into the game but we managed to stay in the battle and get a foothold back in the game. When we do that, we have players who can cause some issues.
“I thought our set piece was unbelievable tonight – the line-out drive that led to the try was against a big old Montpellier pack and they were in trouble and the players should take huge credit for that.”
Cockerill also took the time to give a quick few words on breakout Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham who scored Edinburgh’s only try of the game.
“Darcy is Darcy. He’s awesome. He’s got the biggest heart in the team, and he works really hard. I’ve got a lot of time for him.”
He also acknowledged the fact that it was rumoured that flanker Hamish Watson – who was just this week named to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland squad – may have broken his hand during the match.
“We think it is at the moment. It’s a broken bone. We’ll have to confirm it but that’s what it looks like, which is disappointing to say the least.”
Things soon took a light hearted turn as the Head Coach was asked if he had received any calls from Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie – as the Edinburgh win meant that Glasgow automatically qualified for the last eight as well.
“There’s always one down side to the evening isn’t there?
“Look, I enjoy the rivalry and the rivalry is going to get stronger and better. It’s great for Scottish rugby. We’ve got two teams in the quarter-finals, there’s a lot of good things happening in the Scottish game. So, let’s enjoy it.”
When Cockerill first arrived at Edinburgh, he made it known that he had a long term plan set out for the club, so with their form of late it isn’t unreasonable to ask if he has actually found himself somewhat ahead of his preconceived schedule.
“I’ve no idea because I had no idea where I’d be at this point. We get on a flight to South Africa tomorrow. We’ve got a lot of guys who won’t be with us and we’ve got to play next Saturday against Southern Kings. That’s our concentration.
“Whether you’re with a Leicester or Toulon or Edinburgh it’s the day to day grind, working hard. I don’t know where we’ll end up. There’s no magic formula. Good lads that want to work hard, good coaching staff and they deserve a lot of credit tonight because that was a bloody good performance against a good side tonight.”
Of course, the guarantee of a home quarter final will make thoughts of their remaining games in Europe a little sweeter perhaps.
“75 per cent of teams win their quarter-finals when they’re at home. Simple as that. Hopefully we’ll get a bigger crowd. It was a great crowd tonight. We want to get a big team, bring them here, and financially it’s great for us. So, 30-40-50,000 people here for a quarter-final. Why not? We’ve got a team worth watching.
“When I came here why would you come and watch because we were pretty crap. Now we’re not. We’ve shown we’re a bloody good side. Come and support us. The boys deserve it.”
Asked if he had given any thought to which ‘big team’ it would be coming to BT Murrayfield for that quarter final, Cockerill seemed unconcerned at this moment in time as he gave a somewhat joking reply.
“I’m just happy to be here [in the quarter finals]. I can sit on the flight to South Africa tomorrow with a glass of red and it’s everybody else’s problem.”
Edinburgh Rugby: B Kinghorn, D Graham, J Johnstone, C Dean, D Van Der Merwe; J Van Der Walt, H Pyrgos; P Schoeman, S McInally, WP Nel, B Toolis, G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, V Mata. Subs: D Cherry, A Dell, S Berghan, F McKenzie, L Crosbie, N Fowles, S Hickey, J Socino.
Montpellier: F Steyn; T Nagusa, A Vincent, J Serfontein, H Immelman; J Goosen, R Pienaar; G Fichten, B du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, N van Rensburg, J du Plessis, F Ouedraogo, Y Camara, L Picamoles. Subs: V Giudicelli, U Tcheisvhili, L Chilachava, K Galletier, Y Reilhac, B Paillaugue, V Martin, P Willemse.
Referee: JP Doyle.
Edinburgh Rugby: Tries: Graham. Cons: Van Der Walt. Pens: Van Der Walt 4.
Montpellier: Tries: J du Plessis. Cons: Pienaar. Pens: Pienaar.
Scoring Sequence (Edinburgh first): (0-0), (3-0), (6-0), (9-0), (9-5), (9-7) HT (9-10), (12-10), (17-10), (19-10) FT.
MOTM: WP Nel.