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Cockerill lays it on thick

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Cockerill: 'It's not just a game - we're representing our city, the people, our families and all the supporters'

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Richard Cockerill has told his players pride is at stake against Glasgow as Edinburgh battle to keep hold of the 1872 Cup.

The Murrayfield side have had the upper hand in the inter-city showdowns over the past two years but saw their grip on the trophy loosen last week as they suffered defeat at Scotstoun in the first leg of the three-match series.

Now Cockerill wants his team fired up for the return clash in the capital, which also has Guinness PRO14 points up for grabs. The Englishman said: “We’ve had a good review this week and the players have been able to get a bit of downtime with their friends and families over the Christmas break.

“We’ll have no problems with desire on Saturday. It’s important for us. We’ve got to understand that it’s not just a game of rugby. We’re representing our city. We’re representing the people we play for, our families, and all the supporters.

“We’re going to go full-on and I’m sure Glasgow will come full-on. These are no trials for the national team. We want the points, we want the bragging rights and we want to keep the 1872 Cup that we’ve won the last two years. It’s important for everybody that we represent our city properly.”

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Cockerill has made three changes following his side’s 20-16 defeat, with Scotland stars Jamie Ritchie and WP Nel both returning to his pack. Nic Groom gets the nod at scrum-half in the only change to the backline.

An unchanged back-three sees Blair Kinghorn – a try-scorer in last weekend’s opening leg at Scotstoun – named at full-back in between wings Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe. Scotland centre Mark Bennett once again links-up with George Taylor in midfield, with Simon Hickey at stand-off.

The inclusion of 35-times capped tighthead Nel is the only alteration to an otherwise unchanged front-row as Stuart McInally and Pierre Schoeman continue up-front. Grant Gilchrist and Ben Toolis form the second-row as Ritchie returns to the back-row alongside openside flanker Hamish Watson and number eight Viliame Mata.

– Press Association 

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Cockerill: 'It's not just a game - we're representing our city, the people, our families and all the supporters'