RICHARD COCKERILL has parted company with Edinburgh with immediate effect by mutual consent in order to allow the coach to “pursue other opportunities”, just 11 months after signing a two-year contract extension at the club which was supposed to run until the summer of 2023.
The club’s initial pre-season preparations will be led by assistant/defence coach Calum MacRae and Head of Strength and Conditioning Nick Lumley. Former Edinburgh scrum-half Mike Blair, who is currently a member of the Scotland management team and was supposed to pick up some experience as head coach with the national side before Covid ruined this summer’s schedule, would be an obvious candidate to take the Edinburgh job on a permanent basis.
Cockerill, who previously had periods coaching Leicester Tigers and Toulon, joined Edinburgh in the summer of 2017, and initially had a big impact in re-energising the underperforming club.
The former England hooker led the side to their first ever PRO14 play-offs appearance in 2018, and they won their PRo14 conference in 2020 before losing to Ulster in the play-off semi-final. They also reached the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup in 2019, but endured a frustrating, Covid-ravaged 2020-21 season in which they finished they finished fifth in Conference B of the PRO14 and managed just seven wins and one draw from 24 matches in all competitions.
“Having had constructive conversations with Jim Mallinder and Mark Dodson post season it was agreed that we would come to an agreement where I would leave the club by mutual consent to pursue other opportunities,” said Cockerill.
“I would like to thank everyone at Edinburgh Rugby for the hard work they have put in. It has been a rewarding four seasons for the club.
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“I would also like to thank all the supporters for everything they have done for me and the team you have been amazing.
“I wish the staff and players all the best for the future and look forward to watching you in your new stadium.”
Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, said: “I would like to thank Richard for all his hard work and commitment to the club throughout his time at Edinburgh Rugby.
“We wish him all the very best in his next challenge.”