A trip to Welford Road in April would be right up Richard Cockerill’s street, but there will be no getting ahead of themselves for Edinburgh as they plot a way to the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Edinburgh will be away in the last eight if they get the win they need against Agen – pointless so far in the pool – at Murrayfield, and that could mean back to Bordeaux, back to Toulon, possibly Bristol or most mouthwatering of all, to Cockerill’s old stamping ground at Leicester.
“I think four points will be enough to get us a quarter-final, and five will get us a slightly more favourable draw,” he said.
“Toulon, Bordeaux and Bristol will probably be the top three seeds, along with Leicester or Worcester/Castres in that fourth spot, so whatever we do we’re going to get a hard away game so we’ve just got to make sure we have a good performance.
“I expect us to perform this weekend, and I expect us to win. We’ve got to put ourselves under pressure to make sure we play properly.
“Agen have put a pretty good side out to be fair. There’s a good mixture of first-choice players and guys who would normally sit on the bench, it’s a pretty balanced team and a lot stronger than it could have been.”
Cockerill hasn’t even been back to Welford Road once since he was fired on New Year’s Day 2017, but retains a number of friends from his many years there as player, coach and director of rugby.
“100 per cent I’d like to go back, and I’d like to test ourselves in one of the hardest places to go in the English game,” he said.
“I know a lot of people there, I was there a long time. I still keep in touch with Geordan Murphy, he’s a good friend. My association with Leicester is still very much alive and there’s lots of good people there I have a lot of time for.”
In the meantime Cockerill has rested Blair Kinghorn, Magnus Bradbury and Matt Scott, but still fields a formidable team with a first choice second row combination, while Fraser McKenzie and Chris Dean, both out for much of this season, return on the bench.
“Stuart McInally has still got a sore rib from the Glasgow game, Bradbury is on test rest having played five games and Jamie Ritchie’s hamstring is not quite right and I don’t want to risk him, with test matches coming up,” said Cockerill.
“We’re obviously going to be missing a lot of guys so it’s a good opportunity to get some quality game time into people like Fraser and Chris before we have a bit of a break, and then we have three very important games during the Six Nations.”
Cockerill wasn’t impressed with the way Edinburgh played in their last home game against Kings – despite scoring 61 points and nine tries – and wants his team to react well to being favourites.
“We’ve got to learn to cope with the favourites tag and deliver a performance that gets you the win, it’s as simple as that,” he said. “It’s a different challenge to last week or to a Glasgow or a Scarlets or a Munster.
“When you’re expected to win, you need to play to the level you’re capable of and make sure you deliver on it.”
Edinburgh team: Damien Hoyland; Darcy Graham, Mark Bennett, George Taylor, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van de Walt, Nic Groom (capt); Pierre Schoeman, Dave Cherry, WP Nel; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist; Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson, Nick Haining.
Replacements: Mike Willemse, Rory Sutherland, Pietro Ceccarelli, Fraser McKenzie, John Barclay, Henry Pyrgos, Simon Hickey, Chris Dean.