EDINBURGH coach Richard Cockerill has explained that he played a part in Matt Scott’s move to Leicester Tigers after deciding he could not afford to keep the former Scotland centre.

Cockerill said that he wanted Scott to stay, and that the player himself wanted to remain part of the squad, but financial considerations meant he had to move on.

“We have a budget to stick to,” Cockerill said when asked about Scott’s move, which was confirmed by both teams late last month. “Matt wanted to stay and I wanted him to stay, but with all the other signings and all the other bits and pieces in terms of the balance of the squad, it just wasn’t possible.

“Tough decisions had to be made but Matt’s a good player and a good man. I’m disappointed that he’s leaving, but I’m pleased he’s going to a good club. I was talking to Geordan Murphy [the Leicester head coach] about squads. He was asking about midfield and I recommended that Leicester had a look at Matt. He was unlucky not to play for Scotland this year.

“In different circumstances, he would still be an Edinburgh player. But that just wasn’t to be. That’s professional sport, that’s just how it works sometimes. I take full responsibility for that because that’s my job.”

Cockerill, who both played for and coached Leicester, announced on Friday that he had signed teenage back-row forward Ben Muncaster from the Tigers.

Meanwhile, although construction work is at a standstill as part of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the coach is confident that his team’s mini-Murrayfield stadium will still be completed in time to be used at some point next year.

“Of course it’s frustrating, but under the current circumstances it’s thoroughly understandable,” he added. “The stadium will get built. We will be using it at some point for next season.

“We’re just going to have to get on with it. In the first instance, we’ll be back in the main stadium. It’s understandable – nobody is building anything at the moment. But I’ve no doubt we will be in the new stadium at some point in the 2021 season.”