Edinburgh eager to upset Champions Cup routine
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The likes of Leinster and Saracens might be favourites when it comes to winning the Champions Cup, however Scotland side Edinburgh are determined to upset the tournament’s modern routine.
Leinster, who has widely regarded as retaining the title, will have their work cut out of them when they host Ulster. While, fellow favourite Saracens will battle it out with Glasgow Warriors.
Racing 92 steered by the flyhalf Finn Russell is another side that could potentially lift the trophy.
However, growing tired of simply making up the numbers, Edinburg head coach Richard Cockerill believes that his team has the ability to upset the modern routine – if they get it right on the day.
Edinburgh host the two-times European Champions Munster in their Champions Cup Quarter-Final this weekend.
It is indeed a massive mountain to climb, as the side fell short against Munster in last year’s PRO14 Final Series Qualifier – the first post-season league appearance in the club’s history – while a youthful capital outfit were well beaten by the Irish side at Musgrave Park in November.
“We’re a Scottish team, we’re best when we’re underdogs, it’s as simple as that,” head coach Cockerill revealed via the club’s official website. “But we’re up for the battle. We’re not coming here to just fulfil the fixture.
“If we get it right we’ll beat them, but we’ve got to get it right and we’ve got to front up in these big games. We’ll be well prepared, have a lot of belief in what we do and we’re coming here to win.
“They’re a good side, aren’t they? They have all the European history. It’s part of the learning curve for us to play in all these big games. We’ve knocked off some big European teams. Munster are a big European team.
“It was tight – it was a four-point ball game,” he said of that PRO14 Final Series match against Munster in May of last year. “We gave away a loose try and a bit of [Simon] Zebo magic opened us up. But we played them at Independence Park earlier in the season and physically they battered us, they absolutely killed us. So we’ve got to make sure we match the physical aspects of their game,”
This is Edinburgh’s third appearance in the knockout-stages of European rugby’s premier competition, it is Munster’s 18th time in the last eight of the tournament.
Munster lifted the trophy in 2006 and 2008 and will be hungry for further European glory after finishing seven points clear of Pool 2.
“This is the 18th time they’ve been in the knockout stages. This is the third we’ve been here. They’ve won it twice. They will have ambitions of being European champions. We are still a team that is growing.
“We’re building on that and coming here to win. I don’t want to give this opportunity away. I don’t want to be satisfied with thinking we’ve got to the quarters, we’ve done well. We have a good team and good players.”
“They’re used to winning games of this calibre. I’m not sure we are – yet. But this could be the starting point for us.”
Source: @rugby365com & @EdinburghRugby