Edinburgh have followed up qualification for a home semi-final in the restarted 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season by convincing Richard Cockerill to extend his contract with the Scottish club until 2023. 

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The former England international hooker’s existing deal was due to expire next May and there had been recent speculation linking him with a move, namely back to the Gallagher Premiership where the ex-Leicester boss was mentioned in the Gloucester conversations before that vacancy was filled by George Skivington. 

With progress to next month’s PRO14 semi-finals sealed with last weekend’s win over Glasgow, it has now emerged in the build-up to Friday’s Murrayfield rematch between the Scottish rivals that Cockerill will remain at the Edinburgh helm for another while yet. 

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Speaking during an appearance on the BBC Scotland Rugby podcast, Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson said: “Despite interest from lots of other places, an agreement has been reached and I’m delighted he’s staying. He’s doing a fantastic job and he wants to make sure we take Edinburgh to the next level.

“We have got the exciting moment now with the new Edinburgh stadium to be commissioned at the end of the year and we have got this incredible group of players that he’s brought through and developed into a really competitive team.”

Beaten by Munster in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals in 2019 a year after they were defeated by the same Irish club in the PRO14 quarter-finals, Edinburgh have now beaten their Conference B rivals to the top spot in the restarted 2019/20 league campaign. 

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Prior to last weekend’s convincing derby win over the Warriors, RugbyPass noted that despite reservations about some of Cockerill’s management methods, his overall positive influence was Edinburgh’s chance to finally turn promise into lasting substance.

“In the coach’s early days, the style of play was not enthralling. The focus was on making use of a snarling pack, defending stoutly and following a simple but effective blueprint. That resilience remains,” suggested RugbyPass.

“But with the kind of attacking weaponry Edinburgh now wield, it would be nice to see them open up a bit more and the evidence suggests that is beginning to happen. Making use of their extra gears in the attack would mark another significant step on their journey in the Cockerill era.”

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