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1872 Cup: Murrayfield was ‘ugly’ but still four valuable points, stresses Richard Cockerill

Head coaches Richard Cockerill (l) and Danny Wilson before Saturday's 1872 Cup game at Murrayfield.
Head coaches Richard Cockerill (l) and Danny Wilson before Saturday's 1872 Cup game at Murrayfield.

Richard Cockerill would have “emailed Premier Sport to get my subscription back” if the 1872 Cup derby had stayed at 0-0 after a scoreless first 64 minutes, but the head coach was pragmatic about Edinburgh’s eventual 10-7 win.

The watching Gregor Townsend won’t have seen much to impress him with his deliberations for the Six Nations squad. But for Cockerill it was four valuable Guinness PRO14 points, no matter in the manner they came.

“It was a good performance,” insisted the Edinburgh head coach. “Our scrum was dominant, our lineout wasn’t, so we’ve got a bit of work to do there.

‘Even when it’s ugly, we’re winning’

“Overall it was a game to be won, and we found a way to win it. That’s the one thing that we’re learning to do: even when it’s ugly, we’re winning games.

“We had lost that (knack) a little bit, but the last two games we found ways to win against good sides.

“I thought Glasgow were good tonight. They played well. I know they’ve got guys missing, but haven’t we all?”

‘Bravery’ going for tries

As for an hour without scoring, Cockerill backed the “bravery” of his players to keep going for tries and giving up easily kickable penalties.

“It was always going to be tiny margins, wasn’t it? And we managed to win the tiny margins eventually.

“We can be a bit smarter around the breakdown and giving soft penalties away allowing them into our half.

“Mind you, if it had stayed 0-0 I’d have been emailing Premier Sports to get my subscription back!”

‘Better brand of rugby than in last two games’

Glasgow’s Danny Wilson through his side “fired some shots” as they’d not done in recent games.

“We played a better brand of rugby than we had in the last two games and we certainly tested Edinburgh,” he said.

“Tight games come down to tight situations and we came out on the wrong side of a couple of those situations, including again a lack of discipline. But there were some really good sets of defence, especially when we were camped on our own line and turned them over a few times.

“Ultimately it’s a loss, even if we pick up a losing bonus point away from home which is something. We need to turn a better performance this week into an even better performance next week which will hopefully give us the right result at Scotstoun.”

Just two weeks training together

Glasgow will benefit only by another fortnight together before breaking up again, he pointed out.

“This group of players had only been together one week, then they had a Covid stay-at-home, no training spell, then another week leading up to this game,” he said.

“So our international boys have only been back for that two-week period actually in the building. In a couple of weeks’ time it will be the same again when the international boys go into camp again.

“What I’m finding the biggest challenge is that you don’t roll on from week to week and build. You keep having to change and start again almost.

“I’m looking forward to getting the Covid situation done and dusted and getting all the international fixtures done so we can say, this is our squad and we can build.”

Richie Gray’s return a bright spot

Wilson hopes to get a couple of his Covid-19 absentees back for Friday’s return game, but there was a boost in the performance of Richie Gray, who played 70 minutes and dominated the lineout.

“I was getting asked at 60 minutes if I wanted to keep going, but I felt good,” said the lock. “Maybe that says something about the game because it was more attritional than quick.

“The most pleasing thing, and the most disappointing thing, was that we were in a position to win the game. In the second half we made quite a few visits to their 22 and their third but our errors cost us.

“Hopefully we can sharpen that up for next week, take our chances and get some points.”

A return to the international side is furthest from the 31-year-old’s mind.

“No, I’m just looking to stay fit,” he said. “I’ve got a battle on my hands at Glasgow where we’ve got Scott (Cummings), Lewis Bean, Rob Harley and Leone (Nakarawa) coming back. It is a fight every week.

“Let’s be realistic, get a run (of games) going, and see what happens.”

 

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