Edinburgh will focus on getting what they need from the 1872 Cup third leg against Glasgow Warriors on the assumption their play-off rivals do the same and let the cards fall where they may, says Richard Cockerill.
Edinburgh are in the fortunate position of playing after Scarlets and Ulster – “I’d be complaining about it if it were the other way around,” he admitted – so they will know exactly what they have to do when they take the field at BT Murrayfield.
But that won’t change their approach in any way in the moments leading up to the game, he said.
“Our mindset is just around winning the game, because of the bizarre set-up that we play last, it’s an unfair advantage in so many ways,” he said.
“It may change because if Ulster won’t get what they need (a b onus point win against Munster) we’re qualified.
“If Scarlets win but don’t get a bonus point, a bonus point win would give us a home quarter-final.
“At the moment we’re just concerned that we’ve got our destiny in our own hands, let’s work on the assumption that Ulster will get what they need, and so we have to go and get whatever we need. I think that’s a good mindset for us.”
Playing for the sole bonus point they need to book European Champions Cup qualification and a play-off berth is not a wise option, he believes.
“I’m not sure that Glasgow area a team that you go and defend and hope you don’t lose by more than seven,” he said. “They’re a good side with a huge threat across the team, the setpiece, the breakdown and defence are going to be huge decider factors in the game.
“They’ve probably got more X Factor than us, but as I said earlier in the week some of our parts are strong.
“We play how we play, they play how they play. We’re not entering the jamboree of let’s all go and run around, chuck the ball about. The way we play has got us to a good spot this year, and let’s hope that continues.”
Winning the local trophy means very little to the head coach,
“My only concern is to qualify. The 1872 cup is what it is, I am not fussed about that whatsoever. We have got to get out of that small-mindedness. We are here to qualify for Europe and be in the play-offs and that should be our mindset.”
Cockerill has stuck mainly with the team that defeated Scarlets so handsomely two weeks ago, with the return of Fijian Bill Mata to the back row the only major change.
“Mata’s played well, he’s a threat with ball in hand and he frightens people when he carries the ball so Cornell (du Preez) goes to the bench and Mata starts,” he went on. “It’s good firepower for us.
“Glasgow are genuine contenders to win the title, so the expectation is more on them. They have the better players and bigger budget. It is as simple as that. The pressure is on them to get back on form.
“Their form has not been great lately. However in a couple of big games, Cardiff and Ulster, we have lost our bottle a little bit as well. Now we are genuinely in a position to compete with the good sides, when we get it right, so we need to see we can do it again.”
Edinburgh team (vs Glasgow, 1872 Cup and Guinness PRO14, BT Murrayfield tomorrow, kick-off 7.45, live on Sky Sports): Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Chris Dean, Duhan van der Merwe; Jaco van der Walt, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; Jordan Lay, Stuart McInally (capt), Simon Berghan; Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist; Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Bill Mata. Repl;acements: Neil Cochrane, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Lewis Carmichael, Cornell du Preez, Nathan Fowles, Duncan Weir, Mark Bennett.