RICHARD COCKERILL has called for referee Ben Blain to take a firm hand and not be influenced by “shouting and whinging” from Glasgow Warriors players in what is certain to be a fiercely contested 1872 Cup clash at Scotstoun on Saturday.
“We have a relatively inexperienced referee, it is only his sixth PRO14 game, so there will be some pressure on him,” said the Edinburgh head coach, who never needs a second invitation to indulge in a spot of psychological warfare before a big match.
“Glasgow, notoriously, especially at home, they complain a lot and they appeal a lot. There is a lot of shouting and whinging especially from nine, 10 and two. We will get on with our game. We don’t give many penalties away as a team, but it is going to be vital.
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“[We’ll have] two good forward packs – two teams that drive very well – two teams that when they get into the opposition 22 generally come away with points – so discipline is going to have to be good,” he continued. “I don’t want it to be guys in the sin-bin or sent-off because I want it to be a good, hard-fought game – and as long as we win, it will be a good day.
“We don’t want to compromise ourselves by being too nice,” he added. “The Edinburgh players can be quite nice, polite, public schoolboys. Those rough Glaswegians are a bit different to us, so we want to make sure we won’t be intimidated. We want to be physical and we want do what we want to do.”
Momentum means nothing
Edinburgh have claimed the 1872 Cup in four out of the last five seasons, and they come into this match having won their last four games on the bounce, including two impressive wins on the road against Munster and Wasps. Warriors, meanwhile, have only a 50 percent success rate during the same period, having lost away to Leinster and Le Rochelle during the last month. But Cockerill rejected the suggestion that this puts his team in the driving seat on Saturday.
“Bollocks we are favourites,” was his typically blunt assessment. “They’ve got their own stadium, they’ve got the Australian national coach, they’ve got the budget, they’ve got a bigger squad, they are last year’s finalists They are in the Heineken Cup, we’re not. They are clearly a much better team than us.
“Yes [we have some winning momentum], but we have been playing in the Challenge Cup. It is different. We’ve been working hard since I arrived to make sure that this squad is durable and competitive and has got respect when we play, and if we get it right, we are good enough to beat any team on the day, but we’ve still got to get better at that.
“So, I don’t think we’ve got a chip on our shoulder about them being better than us or anything, we’re just going there to take the points because that’s what we want. And we want to beat our local rivals because rivalry is good. That little bit of tribalism is good, and I want us to go there and show what a good team we are.”
Cockerill confirmed that John Barclay has still not recovered from the head knock he picked up against Bordeaux-Begles last month and won’t be available for selection on Saturday, but added that there is no fresh injury concerns after the weekend.
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Good to know that Edinburgh won’t be shouting and whinging isn’t it?