'Combative' - Richard Cockerill gives glimpse of England pack 2.0
Richard Cockerill plans to stamp his combative personality on to England’s pack after being recruited by Eddie Jones to establish an edge up-front.
Cockerill was appointed forwards coach three weeks ago and will work with Jones’ 45-man training squad for the first time when they gather at The Lensbury for a three-day camp on Sunday.
The snarling former Leicester hooker was a belligerent force for England throughout the 27 caps won between 1997 and 1999 and he famously stared down New Zealand’s Norm Hewitt as the Haka was being performed.
As a coach at Tigers and Edinburgh the 50-year-old fielded well-drilled and rugged forward packs forged in his own image to earn the approval of Jones as he aims to win the 2023 World Cup.
“Eddie wants a fresh pair of eyes, different eyes. He wants me to bring my personality and my drive,” Cockerill said.
“I’ve always been able to get combative forward packs and drive mentality and I think that’s probably appealed to him.
“To be able to coach this group of players with the quality that England have and to try to bring that edge, physicality and mindset is a real challenge for me.”
Cockerill will oversee the line-out while Matt Proudfoot, who also holds the title of forwards coach, takes charge of the scrum.
The first assignment is an autumn series against Tonga, Australia and South Africa that begins on November 6, but Jones has left little doubt that the ultimate goal is to claim South Africa’s global crown in two years’ time.
“Eddie gave me a call and sounded me out. We had a meeting and a chat around his plans from now until the World Cup and what I thought about it,” Cockerill said.
“We had a good discussion around what I could bring, what he wants from me between now and the World Cup and about trying to win the World Cup.
“We had some conversations and it came to the point where he invited me to join the team. I’m a proud Englishman and to get the opportunity to be part of the national team set-up is fantastic.
“I’m very much looking forward to it. I’ve been in the coaching game a long time as a head coach and when the opportunity arose to join Eddie it was something that really appealed to me.
“You may never get asked again so it’s an opportunity to coach at Test level, which I’ve never done. I look forward to getting my teeth into it.”
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