MAGNUS Bradbury has been stripped of the Edinburgh captaincy by head coach Richard Cockerill, but will be available for selection the weekend after next presuming he has fully recovered from a head injury. Fraser McKenzie has now been appointed captain for the rest of the season.
Bradbury was suspended for the previous two matches by Edinburgh following an incident on a night out in the city centre that saw him sustain that head knock. He will not be involved in the squad for Saturday’s PRO14 match in Treviso against Benetton, but could make his return for the following game against Ospreys provided he is deemed worthy of selection.
That matter is now deemed by Cockerill to be over, but at a press conference this lunch time [Tuesday] the coach was unable or unwilling to say when the inquiry into John Hardie would be completed. The Scotland openside was suspended by Scottish Rugby and Edinburgh last Friday for alleged cocaine use.
“I’m not allowed to comment on that,” Cockerill said of the Hardie issue. “I have a view on it, but at this point it’s not appropriate that I talk about it, unfortunately. I’d like all the players to be available to play, but that’s not how it is, so we get on with the playing parts and try to leave this distraction aside.”
As the two suspensions were for entirely unrelated matters, Edinburgh were keen to conclude the Bradbury issue in good time. The 22-year-old back-row forward will be welcomed back into the squad by his playing colleagues as well as by the coaching staff.
“I’ve stood Magnus down as captain, because I’m not going to accept that behaviour from my captain away from the field,” Cockerill said. “The players are very aware of what I expect from them away from the field.
“They’re adults, and they have to make the right decisions. They know how to behave. If they choose to behave outside of that, then clearly I have to manage it.
“Magnus is no longer the captain of the team, and that’s his sanction for not being able to be trusted to manage his behaviour away from the field. I take it very seriously and I will continue to. I want guys that want to be part of the environment and contribute.
“I think we all know how to behave – we just need to make the right choices. Magnus won’t be the first or last rugby player that goes out on a Saturday night and does something that he shouldn’t. He understands that. It’s a harsh lesson for him to learn. Hopefully he’ll grow up a little bit and learn from experience.
“Fraser McKenzie will be the club captain for the rest of this season. And if he’s not on the field I will select a captain for that particular day. So Fraser will lead the team as a club captain. He’s got that little bit more maturity, he leads very well, he’s got that little bit of devil about him – if you know him well enough you’ll understand what I mean. And as a club we train hard this week and we go and try and win. As simple as that. We all have to front up to our responsibilities and make sure that we do them better moving forward, myself included.”