Linked with the role of England head coach by the man who has just taken charge at Twickenham, Richard Cockerill yesterday pointed out that he could be coming available at the right time.

However, the Edinburgh coach also noted that he does not expect negotiations to get underway any time soon as he prepares to cross the border with his team for the biggest match they have faced during his time in charge.

As a former England international, Cockerill was naturally flattered that Nigel Melville, the Rugby Football Union’s interim chief executive, named him as a contender for the post currently held by Australian Eddie Jones, when indicating that he would like English coaches to be in the frame next time around, not least because Cockerill is doing what many of his compatriots would doubtless consider missionary work in a professional rugby outpost.

While, then, he made the point that his current contract matches that of Jones in running until 2021, he was good-naturedly dismissive of the prospect of anything happening any time soon as he referenced past run-ins with England’s powers that be.

“They must have a really short list. It is a surprise to me. Eddie is contracted to 2021 as I am here. I am happy doing what I am doing. I would like to get involved in international rugby but it certainly won’t be until my time here is up. It is always nice to be mentioned in those circles but I have been mentioned before and I am still here. There is no job to be taken. I am not sure the rugby union would want me to do it anyway. I have been banned enough by the rugby union. I am one of lots. My sole attention is what I am doing at Edinburgh. I am contracted as simple as that.”

Cockerill has done an exceptional job since turning up in the Scottish capital, surprising himself by guiding them to the Pro14 play-offs last season and into the Champions Cup where now top their pool at the halfway stage and he believes working elsewhere has improved his understanding of the challenges facing English rugby.

“Sometimes you step out and look at something with a fresh pair of eyes when before you sometimes can’t see the wood for the trees. You can see some of the issues that English rugby has,” he said.

“There’s maybe one club making money, should there be relegation or no relegation? Do you go to Conferences? Well, I’m coaching in a Conference at the moment and that goes quite well in the Pro14. You get more of a wider view and you’re not in the week to week grind of the Premiership, just trying to make sure you have to win every week, keep your job. Though even in the Pro14 people lose their jobs as we know today.”

That was a reference to the departure of Irishman Bernard Jackman from the Dragons yesterday, but there seems no chance of Cockerill coming under any pressure in the foreseeable future as he prepares his team for Sunday’s return meeting with Newcastle Falcons after last weekend’s bonus point win over the English Premiership side that took Edinburgh to the top of Champions Cup pool five.

Noting that Newcastle’s precarious position at the foot of the Premiership table had to affect their thinking when they fielded a weakened side in Edinburgh, he knows Sunday will be very different, their opponents having muscled up by adding to their squad, bringing in prop Jack Payne and ex-Edinburgh flanker John Hardie. However, Cockerill also expects his leading players to be much better for having played together again, while he feels they now have room to manoeuvre whatever happens on Sunday.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys who have played together now for the first time in seven weeks,” he said. “We’ve got a great opportunity to go and win at the weekend and put ourselves right in the box seat to qualify. That’s what we’ll try and do, but even if we don’t win we still have another two opportunities to get out of this group.

“That’s the thing about the pool stage and actually understanding how that works. Even at the weekend when we got the fourth try it was about let’s not give them any [losing bonus] points which could give them a fillip. When we go to Newcastle even if we don’t manage to win, if we get a point out of that game it’s another point closer to qualifying.”