Bordeaux Preview with Bradbury, Carmichael and Cockerill
Edinburgh travel to France to face Challenge Cup opponents Bordeaux this Saturday, and so, earlier in the week Richard Cockerill spoke to the media about the French powerhouses, Magnus Bradbury discussed his recent re-signing and Lewis Carmichael addressed his return to form following his injury-filled 2018/19 season.
The Edinburgh squad are preparing to face Bordeaux tomorrow. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Bradbury Re-Signs with Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s ranks were boosted once more at the beginning of the week as back-row standout Magnus Bradbury re-committed himself to the capital club. “It is always good, I was lucky to get it done early doors and not have to worry about it,” Bradbury said about settling his future for the next few seasons.
Bradbury (left) has re-signed with the club. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
“You never now, as the season goes on, what is going to happen and how that will affect your contract negotiations. I feel I came in at the right time on the back of a positive period of time for me I felt it was the best time for me to settle my contract and be locked down for the next few seasons.”
Head coach Richard Cockerill will surely be delighted with the signing as Bradbury brings a considerable amount of physicality to the team’s game. The back-rower himself admits that he prides himself on that area of his game: “I would say being a physical player has always been a strength of mine.
“I put on a little weight when I was rehabbing my shoulder and that has added to my game. Speaking to Cockers and the Scotland coaches, there are always things you can improve on – softer touches in the wider channels, and stuff like that are the kind of things that Cockers always mentions to me.
“I would never say I am complete, not the finished product. I can always keep adding to my game so it is exciting from that point of view that I can always keep building and progressing.”
It is no secret that Edinburgh have no lack of back-row talent, but Bradbury agrees that Cockerill seems to have lucked out that all his options bring a little something different to each of the three positions.
“Definitely. You have big Bill [Viliame Mata], [Luke] Crosbie and people like that.” Bradbury added: “Everyone adds something different, we all have different strengths. I would not say everyone in that back row position has the same strength as each other.
“Cockers goes on about different dynamics, we can adjust the back row to suit which team we are playing, whether we want more of a fetching back row or more of a ball-carrying or set piece focus. Again, it is just another positive.”
Bradbury and his teammates will be looking to exemplify those positives against Bordeaux this Saturday in their Challenge Cup encounter over in France. On what he expects from the opposition, he explained: “It is a tough place to go, playing over in Montpelier last year was a different level. French teams tend to be a different animal at home. They are a big, physical team and we expect to see more of that now that they are playing in front of their home crowd that we expect to be noisy as well, so we can’t allow that to affect us, how we play.”
Cockerill gave his opinion on Bradbury and the challenge that Bordeaux pose. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Cockerill’s on Bradbury as a Future Leadership Option
Cockerill was delighted with the team’s ability to retain young talent, with the most recent example being Magnus Bradbury.
“He’s big and he’s aggressive, he’s a good ball-carrier: when he carries, he carries hard, and he’s good at getting over the gain line. And when you run into him, you stay tackled. He’s a young man, still improving his game, obviously he’s a Test player, important to the national team as well.
“Part of the remit of us at Edinburgh is to have the best Scottish players and keep developing so that they can play for the national team, but obviously for me the objective is to keep them in Edinburgh and make sure we’re as good a team as we can be.”
Never one to miss the chance to take the mick, even out of one of his own players, when asked about Bradbury’s future leadership material, Cockerill quipped: “As long as he stays off the piss, he’s got more chance of leading the team, hasn’t he? We know the history on that.”
He did, however, add: “Yeah, I think so. Look, the more confident you get in playing the game and understanding your role within the game, I think that leads naturally to being able to lead.”
Cockerill on Bordeaux Begles Away Fixture
Turning attention to the weekend’s fixture, Cockerill explained that Edinburgh will have to remain on top of their game-plan for the entirety of the 80 minutes if they are to pick up the league points they need to advance well in the competition.
“They’re a very big physical team. Forty-five of them are, that’s what money buys you. I think we’ve got to be smart in how we play, in selection and tactics. We probably should have beaten them at home. We had opportunities and let that slip. But that probably shows what a good performance the home game was.
“We’ve since seen in the year what a good side Bordeaux are. So, suddenly, that 16-16 looks a good result. I don’t think we go over there and take them on overly physical, that wouldn’t be smart. You have to front up and match them but we don’t want to get into an arm wrestle that suits them more than it does us.”
Carmichael opened up about his return to fitness. (Photo: Edinburgh Rugby twitter)
Carmichael on His Return to Form, Re-Signing and Bordeaux
It was a more than trying 2018/19 season for Lewis Carmichael, considering he didn’t play a single second of it. The 24-year-old lock had had his whole season written off, first by a concussion issue picked up in pre-season and then by a ruptured ACL just as he was starting to return to full training.
And so, he was more than happy to take on his sixth start of the season against the Southern Kings at BT Murrayfield last week. “Yeah, it was good. It’s been a couple of weeks since I played 80 minutes so, it’s great. Obviously, not playing a lot of rugby last year, I’m loving starting and loving my time on the field at the moment.”
Playing a full 80 minutes was, of course, not an easy place for Carmichael to get back to, especially considering the serious and long-term nature of his injury. “It was obviously devastating, missing a full season of rugby. It was hard,” Carmichael admitted.
“But the knee feels all good now and I’m just happy to be just trying to play catch up on that season that I missed, to be fair. So yeah, it’s obviously not ideal, being out for a year, but I’m glad I’m back now, fully fit.”
He doesn’t see any roadblocks in his near future this season though, and so, he is looking to be pushing to get back to the form he was enjoying in the spring and summer of 2018 – the time in which he made his Scotland debut on the summer tour, marking the occasion with a try.
“Yeah obviously you want to be playing as much as you can, so I’ve got to take it when I can sort of thing,” the young lock explained. “Obviously I would have loved to have played in every game this season, but that just doesn’t happen when you’ve got two guys like Gilco [Grant Gilchrist] and Tooly [Ben Toolis] playing some of their best rugby this season. I’m just wanting to play every week, and doing everything I can in training to play every week.”
There is a chance that he could work on that form against an on-form Bordeaux side this Saturday as Edinburgh travel to France to face the Top 14 giants. And Carmichael knows how big of a challenge he and his teammates could be met with.
“Like Cockers said, they’re a very big, physical team and we need to match their physicality, as a forward pack especially. I think if we do that, away from home, then it’s anyone’s game kind of thing. So, as a forward pack, we need to meet fire with fire. And especially away from home, it’s a big task against these big French boys. So, it’s exciting.”
And it will be exciting for many Edinburgh fans to see how much further the lock can push his game in the quest to reclaim his aforementioned peak form, and that is a job that is made somewhat easier by the fact that Carmichael recently resigned with the capital club.
“Yeah, it’s good,” Carmichael said, especially since the contract extension comes on the back of such a major injury lay-off for the forward. “It’s good obviously that the club were interested and it’s good that my future is secure for a little while. So, that obviously takes a little bit of weight off my shoulders.
“So yeah, it’s positive that they’re keen to have me after being out for a year. They’ve put their faith in me, so I’m just trying to reward that by playing well on the pitch at the moment.”