Richard Cockerill remains upbeat of Edinburgh's chances ahead of new season

New Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill takes charge of his new side for the first time on Friday night when they face Cardiff
New Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill takes charge of his new side for the first time on Friday night when they face Cardiff

Newly appointed Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill expressed satisfaction in his team's preparation ahead of the 2017/18 season of Pro 14.

The Scottish regional side head to Cardiff Arms Park to take on the Blues on Friday in the season opener and the former Leicester boss is wary of the challenge ahead as Edinburgh have not registered a win at the venue in the previous four seasons.

"I'm optimistic. The boys have had a good pre-season, but I'm sure everyone is saying the same in that regard.

"We've had a couple of good weeks, we just need to make sure we go and we put our best game out on the field.

"Cardiff are a dangerous side, both from their drive in the forward pack and the fact they like to play an unstructured game. They've got players that can punish you if you're inaccurate.

"We've prepared well, but we just don't know what to expect until we get into the live scenario. We're going there to win, that's our mentality and so it should be. We're looking forward to it.

"It's my first experience of Cardiff Arms Park. There's a synthetic field, which will make the game quick, and we've not won there for the last four years so it's going to be a challenge for us."

Blair Kinghorn is named at fullback while Dougie Fife and Jason Harries start on the wings for the Myreside outfit. Chris Dean and Junior Rasolea kick-off in the centre, with Scotland internationals Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Duncan Weir combining as the half-back pairing.

Newly-selected skipper Magnus Bradbury is accompanied in the back-row by Jamie Ritchie and John Hardie.

Urging on the need to start the season well, Cockerill believes he has selected the best possible team to conquer the challenge in Cardiff.

"The playing group are in a good place, but we need to make sure that we go there and do the job," added Cockerill. "We've got to have a tough mind-set and physically we've got to be very good. It's important that we get off to a good start and bring some points back.

"We've got internationals that are coming back in and available and we've got guys that have done 11 or 12 weeks of pre-season. We've picked a team which we feel is the right squad, because of the dynamics of bringing international guys back in - some will feature, some won't.

"It's a long season so in the here and now we've picked what I think is the best side to go to Cardiff and win."