RICHARD Cockerill hopes that both Duhan van der Merwe and Lewis Carmichael will be fit to play for Edinburgh against Leinster on Friday despite injuries that have restricted their involvement in training this week. Van der Merwe played on despite a shoulder knock in his team’s win at Cardiff, while Carmichael was wearing a moon boot at training today after a mishap at training.
Asked if Van der Merwe would be able to play in Dublin, Cockerill said: “We hope so. He’s not done any contact so far, and he’s unlikely to, but we’re hoping to get him comfortable enough to play.”
As for Carmichael, the head coach suggested that his wearing a moon boot was not an indication that the injury was severe. “He’s got a slight ankle problem. He had an accident in training – just went over on his ankle. So we’re hopeful he’ll be all right, but we’ll see.
“You sneeze and they put a boot on your foot these days. We’ll just see. It’s too early to tell.”
Van der Merwe was immense in Wales, barging through the Blues defence with some dynamic runs. Cockerill accepted that there were flaws in that defence that his Cardiff counterparts could not be happy with, but insisted that his own team be given credit for the hard-fought 19-11 victory.
“I was unsure where we’d get to with Cardiff – they had a good win on the road at Kings and they’re not missing many, and there’s been a bit of chat from them asking is this the year they do a Connacht and get a good start and all that sort of stuff.
It’s a game of rugby where people miss tackles or don’t tackle as well as they could or should. If you run hard, you test the defence. Duhan is very quick, he’s very agile. We manipulated our attack to run at the weaker seams and we managed to get through them on a couple of occasions.
“We had to go away from home and stay in the battle and take the points home. It’s a hard place to go and play. I’m not a betting man, but I’m sure the odds were pretty much against us getting a result. But I’m delighted with it because it’s four points we gain and teams will find it hard to go there and win.”
The same could be said to a greater extent of the RDS, where Leinster beat Ospreys 53-5 to record a second bonus-point victory from as many games. “It’s another big challenge for us,” Cockerill continued. “They’ve got some real experience in key areas in the spine of that team. If you let Leinster get on the front foot and control the tempo of the game they’re going to cause problems. We hope to put up a bit more of a fight than Ospreys did.”
The PRO14 has a week off after this weekend, something which the Edinburgh coach finds hard to fathom. “We’ve got a break after round three, which is a bit of a strange one. I’m not sure who thought of the idea of having a week off after round three. It would have made sense to play six or seven games then have a break, but that would be common sense, wouldn’t it?”