Cardiff Blues 10-20 Edinburgh: Richard Cockerill hails side's commitment
Head coach Richard Cockerill says Edinburgh have “set the minimum standard” for the season ahead with victory over Cardiff Blues.
In Cockerill’s first competitive game in charge, Edinburgh opened their Pro14 campaign with a 20-10 triumph.
It was the Scottish side’s first away win over the Blues since 2012.
“You’ve got a group of players that really want to try and be better and they showed that commitment tonight,” Cockerill told BBC Scotland.
“Hopefully that’s the minimum standard for us and we can build on it in training this week and take it into next week’s game.
“The most pleasing bit is that what we’ve done, the way we’ve worked as a squad, we got a reward for that tonight.”
Edinburgh took a 10-0 first-half lead at the Arms Park when Blair Kinghorn scythed through the home defence for the opening try, converted by Duncan Weir, who added a penalty.
Blues flanker Josh Navidi touched down from a Jarrod Evans cross-kick shortly before the break then the home side drew level through the fly-half’s penalty.
Weir booted Edinburgh ahead again before Kinghorn and Dean combined neatly in the hosts 22, the latter stretching to score the decisive try.
Edinburgh were notoriously flaky during much of last season, following sparkling displays in Europe with insipid defeats on league duty, and Cockerill is eager to instil a consistently strong level of performance.
“I still think we could play better, but from 10-0 up to 10-10 just after half-time was really pleasing, because this team has struggled to close out games and has drifted away in games, but I was delighted with the effort and the result,” he said.
“I said to them at half-time, we’ve been to darker places and done tougher things in pre-season so don’t be afraid to push yourselves a bit harder.
“We go back to training again, work hard again, don’t get ahead of ourselves – we’ve won one game, against a team that was just above us last year.
“We have to make sure we get it exactly right against Dragons [next Friday], because this team is capable of good results, we saw that last year, but they’re also very capable of letting themselves down the week after, so that’s our next challenge.”
Cockerill confirmed marquee signing Robbie Fruean will be available for the Dragons’ visit to Myreside “if he gets through training on Monday and Tuesday”, with the centre sitting out the opening-round win in part due to the synthetic Arms Park surface.
Winger Dougie Fife played 41 minutes in Cardiff and is one of several players contracted to the national sevens programme who are currently training with Edinburgh.
The Sevens World Series does not begin until early December and, with backs Duhan van der Merwe and Mark Bennett out injured for several more months, Cockerill remains hopeful of retaining their services.
“We’ve got some very good players in that sevens programme and we’re looking at a couple more with James Johnstone and Jamie Farndale,” the former Leicester Tigers boss said.
“They’ve all been training with us, they’ve all played well in pre-season and they give us a bit of depth that hopefully we’re looking to keep.”
Cockerill added that this was subject to ongoing discussions with Scottish Rugby director of rugby Scott Johnson and sevens head coach John Dalziel.