Progress heart­ens Cock­er­ill

Sunday Herald - - SPORT -

HEAD coach Richard Cock­er­ill be­lieves Ed­in­burgh could have sneaked a vic­tory away to Le­in­ster on Fri­day night but a 21-13 de­feat was still a step in the right di­rec­tion for the Scots.

It took un­til the 74th minute of their clash with the four-time cham­pi­ons be­fore Jami­son Gib­son-Park sealed the win for the Ir­ish team, and Ed­in­burgh just missed out on a los­ing bonus point at the RDS.

How­ever, af­ter losses to Benet­ton Rugby and Scar­lets, Cock­er­ill thinks his side are start­ing to find form and show what they are ca­pa­ble of in Con­fer­ence B of the PRO14.

“As a group, we’re still learn­ing,” he said. “We have some young guys out there who are learn­ing their game in a hard en­vi­ron­ment. We made some silly er­rors that cost you against good sides, but I thought the ef­fort, and the phys­i­cal­ity and the men­tal­ity of the team, was out­stand­ing.”

Ja­son Tovey scored all 13 points for the vis­i­tors and they kept the mar­gin down to just one in the sec­ond half at 14-13. Even when Jamie Ritchie was sin-binned, Ed­in­burgh stayed in the fight and went on to have a 64th-minute Dougie Fife try dis­al­lowed by the TMO for cross­ing.

“We stayed in the bat­tle the whole time and if that try had been awarded, who knows?” Cock­er­ill added. “Le­in­ster are a good team. They prob­a­bly just about de­served to get the spoils but it was very close.”

Cock­er­ill’s side go to Italy next week­end be­fore they be­gin their Chal­lenge Cup ad­ven­ture away to Lon­don Ir­ish on October 14. “We have Ze­bre on Fri­day and have to make amends for our poor per­for­mance against Tre­viso,” he said. “That’s the next mind shift for this group of play­ers.

“We have two Euro­pean games but then we go to Tre­viso – which we have to go and win – fol­lowed by Ospreys at home. The next three league games are vi­tal for us in terms of push­ing into fourth spot. We want to be in the play-offs for Europe and are try­ing as best we can to get into the top three.”

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