Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie has hit back at his opposite number at Edinburgh after Richard Cockerill accused Glasgow players of whingeing.
Ahead of the first leg of their 1872 Cup clash at Scotstoun on Saturday, Cockerill called on referee Ben Blain not to be influenced by the “shouting and whingeing” from Glasgow players, with the Englishman specifically pointing the finger at those who wear the number, nine, 10 and two jerseys.
But in an interview with STV, Rennie turned the tables on former England hooker Cockerill:
“When he says number two, is he talking about himself?
“I’m not too worried about what Richard has to say. He’s often in the media having a crack at referees.
In a thinly veiled swipe, the Kiwi added: ‘’I’m not too sure if he’s served his suspension yet for his outburst with Ben Whitehouse?’’
Last month, Cockerill slated the performance of referee Ben Whitehouse following Edinburgh’s defeat by Treviso in the PRO14. The 48-year-old was spoken to by the league over his comments, but no disciplinary action was taken.
Rennie added: “I’m not sure where the whingeing comment comes from, maybe it’s a deflection tactic….
“Whingeing is clearly not the word that I would use. We are competitive. We’ll challenge the opposition, but I can’t think of any situation that warrants that comment.”
When asked if this was an attempt by Cockerill to put pressure on Saturday’s referee, Rennie said:
“Yeah, I mean you are assuming the referee reads the papers. As we know, Ben is new. He’s got a little bit of footy under his belt. I’m sure they’ll be pressure on him . It’s a big game – you’ve got two good sides who are going to challenge him.”
Edinburgh have claimed the 1872 Cup in four out of the last five seasons.
Rennie, who has named Ruaridh Jackson at full back in his starting 15 with Tommy Seymour moving back to the wing, expects a big performance from his players after defeat last weekend.
He said: “The last two years we have been in really dominant form in our competition and we’ve been well ahead [of Edinburgh]. I’ve always felt we’ve lacked a little bit of edge, maybe there’s been a lack of respect around Edinburgh historically, but that’s not the case now.
“They’ve done really well over the last couple of years. They are a really good side with a lot of good internationals. There should be an edge about us because we are not streets ahead in our pool. We need to pick up results and expect to see a performance that reflects that.”
Hugh Jones earns a starting slot for the second weekend in a row, but Matt Fagerson is unavailable after the flanker was hit with a three week ban following his red card against La Rochelle.