Richard Cockerill: 'Is Magnus Bradbury 100% ready to lead - probably not'

Edinburgh back row Magnus Bradbury and head coach Richard Cockerill
Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill, right, will mentor Magnus Bradbury as a captain

Head coach Richard Cockerill says Edinburgh can build a team around new captain Magnus Bradbury.

The powerful 22-year-old back row was appointed skipper on Monday, four days before Edinburgh begin their Pro14 campaign at Cardiff Blues.

Cockerill says growing leadership across the squad is vital if they are to avoid an eighth straight bottom-half league finish.

"Is he 100% ready to be a leader of all men? Probably not," Cockerill said.

"I'm going to help him along that way. But in 12, 24, 36 months, I hope he's a guy that this club will be built around, whether I'm here or not.

"Magnus is a very good young player, he's just broken into the national set-up if he plays well enough, he'll be in the team every week, give or take.

"I want to build this squad around the young players, and we've got some good senior players, but Magnus is on a long-term contract. He's a local man who wants to play for the club, he's played for his country. You have to build leadership and you have to start somewhere.

"We have to create some foundations for the club, and making sure young Scottish guys are in the team, learning and knowing how to lead, is probably one thing this place has lacked a little bit over the last few years. This is the start."

Edinburgh's Magnus Bradbury

Bradbury made his Edinburgh debut almost three years ago, but only secured a regular berth in the starting line-up last season, when he earned 17 league appearances.

It was a compelling breakthrough campaign for the former Oban High pupil. His thunderous carrying helped him beat 38 defenders on Pro12 duty, scoring five tries, and making his Scotland debut against Argentina in November.

"He's big, he's tough and he likes to get in the middle of the fight - I like that," said Cockerill, who arrived from Toulon this summer.

"That's key - some captains lead by what they say and some lead by their actions. Magnus is probably more the latter.

"He leads well by how he behaves professionally and how he plays. Also, he'll learn how to lead with guys like Duncan Weir, [former captains] Grant Gilchrist, Stuart McInally and Ross Ford, and others who have led the side before.

Edinburgh back row Magnus Bradbury
Edinburgh back row Magnus Bradbury established himself as a first-team starter and an international last season

"Magnus will develop his leadership, because unless you are willing to take the risk and willing to put time and effort into these things, it doesn't just happen."

Bradbury believes after years of disappointment, the squad are benefiting from Cockerill's intense but invigorating approach.

"I try to lead by example and grow as a player, and I just want to get my head down and keep trying to do what I do on and off the field," the loose forward said.

"Cockers, with a fresh view, has changed a lot of things and it's been a bit of a shock to the system initially.

"We're all wearing exactly the same kit round Murrayfield and the standards we've set as a squad, speaking to management and senior players, we're holding ourselves accountable to these things.

"The idea behind that is that if we hold ourselves accountable to everything off the field it'll trickle into on the field. And hopefully we'll start getting results from that."

Edinburgh head coaches' win percentage

Meanwhile, with Scotland loose-head props Allan Dell, Rory Sutherland and Al Dickinson out injured, Cockerill has secured a six-week loan deal for Italian international Michele Rizzo from former club, Leicester Tigers.

The Edinburgh boss also confirmed that all non-injured Scotland internationals from the three-Test summer tour are available for selection this weekend.

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