Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Cockerill to leave Edinburgh

Richard Cockerill Edinburgh
Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill - pic © Al Ross/Novantae Photography

Edinburgh Rugby have today announced that Head Coach Richard Cockerill has left the club “by mutual consent to allow him to pursue other opportunities”.

Cockerill has overseen the past four seasons at the club and despite an immediate positive impact producing a monster pack that could compete with anyone on their day, it could be argued that efforts have stalled in recent seasons. This might be unfair on Cockers, as the faults (poor attacking play, lack of access to his best players consistently) are not wholly of his making or within his remit to solve.

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. I would like to thank everyone at Edinburgh Rugby for the hard work they have put in.

Richard Cockerill

Leaving aside the horrible phrasing of “agreeing to agree”, at least the announcement gives Edinburgh some time to find a replacement before the season begins, although if it was agreed a while back you’d hope they have a succession plan in place already with pre-season now underway. No word yet if Cockerill has been lined up anywhere but I’d say he’s done his reputation no harm with Edinburgh. He had recently signed a contract extension due to keep him there until 2023 so it seems a little odd, in terms of the timing unless there has been a falling-out somewhere.

With a number of British Lions in the ranks, it might have been quite an attractive job but now they’ve all signed for Worcester it resembles a rebuilding brief once again – although in an undeniably stronger position than the one Cockerill himself found the club in, and with a suitably sized new stadium to play in.

The club’s initial pre-season preparations will be led by Assistant Coach Calum MacRae and Head of Strength and Conditioning Nick Lumley.

Who should Edinburgh be looking at to come in – would Edinburgh legend Mike Blair fancy the step up, having taken charge of the Scotland squad this summer?

8 Responses

  1. “Tradition” has it that on the event of unexpected coach departure for better opportunities, the club should get the least impressive Scotland assistant coach….

  2. Scott Robertson would be nice but getting back to reality I think given the financial impact of COVID I am expecting a lower budget option.

  3. Thanks Richard I for one think you did a great job, I’m sad to see you go but I hope you get a great appointment you deserve it.

  4. It’s behind a paywall but John Barclay has written a highly critical article in the Times about Cockerill and said he was surprised he lasted as long as he did

  5. Having just read Barclay’s article it rings so true and confirms what a lot of edinburgh fans had been thinking for a season or two. Cockerill improved the club immeasurably at first but he had hit a ceiling with his style and Edinburgh have been in reverse last two seasons.
    Having said that I’m sceptical about Mike Blair it just feels like he hasn’t served his apprenticeship yet to be a DOR. He should have done similar to ROG, moved around learned a bit, served under a few top coaches and been involved in successful clubs but he’s kind of just stayed in his cosy little SRU comfort zone. Personally I’d prefer Roddy Grant or maybe even the return of Jason O’Halloran.

    1. I read it online this morning. Barclay doesn’t pull any punches and it’s hard to imagine him and Cockerill having a quiet, affable pint with each other anytime soon.

      Like you said, it was clear to everyone that RC turned the club around in his first two seasons and certainly toughened Edinburgh up front.

      It was equally clear that something had gone badly wrong inside the club after the first couple of seasons and Barclay has set out in unambiguous terms where he considers the responsibility for the decline rests.

      There may be a Cockerill side of the story to come out – or maybe not, if the terms of his departure include a form of NDA.

      Still, Barclay’s article was a surprising read, as he comes across on tv and radio as a diplomatic sort not given to launching into teams or individuals as brutally as this.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion