We’re do­ing ev­ery­thing to keep our best play­ers

Evening Times - - RUGBY UNION -


ED­IN­BURGH RUGBY head coach Richard Cock­er­ill admits he is de­lighted to have se­cured Pierre Schoe­man’s fu­ture at the club, with the loose­head prop sign­ing a con­tract ex­ten­sion en­sur­ing he will re­main at the cap­i­tal club un­til the next World Cup and be­yond.

The 25-year-old South African signed for Ed­in­burgh in the sum­mer of 2018 from Blue Bulls, who are based in Pre­to­ria, on a three-year con­tract.

Al­though the length of his new con­tract has not been dis­closed, it is un­der­stood to be of sim­i­lar length to his ini­tial deal, which will not only help Ed­in­burgh but will also en­sure Schoe­man will be­come el­i­gi­ble to play for Scot­land un­der the five-year res­i­dency rule.

Cock­er­ill be­lieves the na­tional team will be lucky to have him when he does even­tu­ally be­come qual­i­fied for his adopted coun­try, and he is hope­ful the South African will be in Scot­land for some time to come.

“Yes, he is (good enough to play for Scot­land),” said Cock­er­ill.

“Pierre is a very good player. If he was Scot­tish qual­i­fied now, I think he’d cer­tainly be in the mix to play. He’ll be avail­able for the next World Cup.

“My job is to keep the squad to­gether and keep push­ing the na­tional cause as well as my cause for Ed­in­burgh, so hope­fully he’ll be here longer than me.”

The news of Schoe­man’s con­tract ex­ten­sion may be a boost for the na­tional side but, in the short-term at least, it gives Cock­er­ill con­sid­er­able cause to cel­e­brate.

Schoe­man has been hugely im­pres­sive in the time he has been at Ed­in­burgh. And his per­for­mances last sea­son in­cluded two tries in 31 ap­pear­ances, earn­ing him a place in the 2018/19 Guin­ness PRO14 Dream Team.

Cock­er­ill has grad­u­ally improved the strength-in­depth of the Ed­in­burgh squad since he be­came head coach and he is hugely en­cour­aged about the signs a player of Schoe­man’s qual­ity ex­tend­ing their deal sends to oth­ers.

“He’s a very good player and we’re de­lighted to keep him,” Cock­er­ill said.

“It shows we’ve got good play­ers who want to stay and the en­vi­ron­ment that we’re build­ing. We’re two-and-a-bit years into this, so we want to keep build­ing so we’re do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to keep our best play­ers.”

As an Eng­land in­ter­na­tional, Cock­er­ill has played along­side some world-class props and he has also come across many in his time as a coach and he is quick to high­light that Schoe­man is as good as any of them.

“The way he goes about his busi­ness in training and the way he plays, his dura­bil­ity to turn up ev­ery day and train and play when­ever you want him to play is as good as any­body,” said Cock­er­ill.

“I’ve coached some good loose­heads and played with some and he’s as good as any of those.

“He’s just a bloody good man who works re­ally hard and who’s a very good player too, so that’s all part of the pack­age we’re get­ting.”

It is not just Schoe­man’s play that Cock­er­ill likes though, with the English­man hugely im­pressed with the South African’s at­ti­tude on and off the field.

“He’s got a per­son­al­ity. He’s very out­go­ing and he’s good for the cul­ture be­cause he works very hard,” he said.

“He comes in ev­ery day with a smile on his face and treats ev­ery­body as equal, whether you’re the in­tern or you’re the head coach.

“He takes crit­i­cism well. And he’s good fun.

“If you want to have some fun, in all the right ways, go out

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