EDINBURGH RUGBY may have coped admirably with their squad being decimated due to the ongoing World Cup but with Scotland now eliminated, the return of so many players will be something of a relief to head coach Richard Cockerill.

And so keen is the Englishman to boost his squad ahead of their Guinness Pro14 clash with Scarlets at Murrayfield on Saturday, he even may introduce a couple of the internationalists as soon as this weekend, although he is conscious that after the rigours of spending over a month in Japan, some of the players may need slightly longer before they pull on the Edinburgh shirt again.

“It’s an individual basis, really, when we’ll reintroduce them,” Cockerill said.


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“There will be a couple of guys hopefully involved this weekend that didn’t play a huge amount - we’re hoping to have Kinghorn and Bradbury come back into the squad, but we’ll see.

“Some guys are having a bit more time because they feel they need it. World Cups, long tours, Lions tours, guys react differently, so even some guys that haven’t had a huge amount of game time need a bit more time away from rugby because they’ve been together for months, they’ve been away from home, they’ve been living in hotels.

“Some of that’s not just the physical parts, it’s the emotional parts of getting them fresh mentally to come back and play what’s going to be a big season.

“We’ve got to be careful that we manage those guys correctly.”

With the league season just three games old, Edinburgh have won two, only losing to champions Leinster, ten days ago. Scarlets also have had to contest with a number of their players being on international duty but they are unbeaten this season and Cockerill is aware of how tough a test it will be for his side this weekend.

“They’re a good side, they’ve got good players,” he said.

“They’re pretty much like ourselves: they’re pretty functional, they look to get the ball wide, very hard off the line in defence - we’ve had a couple of games already where teams do that.

“We know what’s coming. We need to bounce back from a pretty average performance in parts at Leinster. There were some good parts at Leinster too, so we’ve got to put that together. We need to make better decisions at times and our set piece has to be better.”


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Scotland may have exited the World Cup but Cockerill, a former England internationalist, will be a keen spectator of the semi-finals this weekend. He has confidence that his compatriots can reach the final, but is wary of predicting a result when it is the All Blacks in the way.

“It’s been a great tournament so far,” he said.

“Do I fancy England’s chances? Yeah, 100 per cent. Purely from a rugby point of view, I’ve got to be honest and say England vs New Zealand would be better as the final.

“But England are more than good enough to beat New Zealand. They’ve got an all-round power game to do it. But, then again, if New Zealand get it right, then they’ll be more than good enough to beat England. So it’ll be a great game.”