We’re doing everything to keep our best players
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