Richard Cockerill: Edinburgh 'didn't cope with big-occasion pressure'

Edinburgh players at full-time after their 20-6 defeat to Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield
Edinburgh's players were dejected after their 20-6 defeat to Cardiff Blues at Murrayfield

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill said certain players could not cope with the pressure of a big occasion after a 20-6 loss to Cardiff Blues.

Defeat ended their European Challenge Cup campaign at the quarter-final stage for the second year running.

"We didn't deserve to win tonight and its as simple as that," said Cockerill.

"We can't get away from that reality. But, there's still a lot to play for this season and we've got to learn from these things."

Errors from scrum-half Nathan Fowles and full-back Blair Kinghorn in the first half helped the Blues establish a 14-3 lead they rarely looked like relinquishing.

"Some individuals didn't cope with the pressure tonight and that happens and we've got to keep developing this team," Cockerill told BBC Scotland.

"No-one said it was a short-term fix. We've done pretty well but we've got to keep working at our game.

'We just started playing as individuals a little bit'

"We were beaten by a better side on the night. We didn't play half as well as we can.

"They took their tries well, as fortuitous as they were, but they were two errors on our part - we should deal with that. We just didn't get going, we were jittery.

"It just shows where we're at. We've got to learn to be more composed on these bigger occasions, and they were more composed than we were.

"We just started playing as individuals a little bit. We didn't perform tonight and that's disappointing, but we've had a steep learning curve.

"It just shows that it's not all fixed and we've still got things that we need to work out. Tonight we got exposed and our composure at key moments wasn't good enough."

Defeat ended the capital club's five-match winning run which has taken them to third place in Pro14 Conference B, 13 points clear of Ulster, who they host in a pivotal match next Friday.

Victory will secure a play-off place and Champions Cup rugby next season.

"We've got to take that opportunity next Friday because the more games you lose, the more pressure comes upon the team," Cockerill added.

"We've got to deal with that pressure, we've got to learn from it, and hopefully we will."

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