Progress heartens Cockerill
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.”