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Cockerill: Edinburgh Rugby have earned Europe's respect

Head coach believes capital club are good enough to beat Munster in the Champions Cup.

Europe: Richard Cockerill's Edinburgh team face Munster at Murrayfield.
Europe: Richard Cockerill's Edinburgh team face Munster at Murrayfield. SNS Group

Edinburgh Rugby have earned the respect of rugby's European giants, according to head coach Richard Cockerill.

Edinburgh knocked out French dynasties RC Toulon and Montpellier HR to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

They face league rivals Munster with home advantage in their last eight tie on Saturday - the side who ended Edinburgh's Pro 14 hopes in last season's play-offs.

The Irish province held out in a narrow 20-16 victory at their Thomond Park home that time, but Cockerill said the Munstermen will take his rising stars even more seriously this weekend.

The Edinburgh boss said: "Historically they would expect to beat us. Even last year Thomond wasn't quite full and it was probably in their minds that it would be a little bit of a procession to get to a semi-final.

"But now, with the team they have picked, everything is at stake. This is the biggest stage and I think we have got the respect of every team in Europe because of how we have played."

Cockerill moves Scotland winger Darcy Graham to full back for the encounter and recalls Chris Dean at inside centre.

Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist bolster the pack after their Six Nations exploits, joining the formidable back row of John Barclay, Hamish Watson and Bill Mata.

Munster select Ireland stalwarts Peter O'Mahoney and CJ Stander among their breakaway forwards.

Conor Murray and Joey Carbery - who steered the Irish to victory over Scotland at Murrayfield in February - are named as the half back pairing.

The attendance could hit the 40,000 mark for the match as interest surges in the capital club and their renaissance under former England hooker Cockerill.

He admitted he dreamed of taking Edinburgh to such big occasions when he accepted the job - but will not settle for second best now they have muscled in on Europe's top table.

Cockerill said: "When you work hard, good things happen. We have worked hard and things have fallen our way at times.

"We should enjoy the day but I want us to enjoy how we play and I want us to enjoy us winning and going on to a semi-final.

"We are not here to make the fixture up and be content with 'well, didn't we do well?' I want us to take the opportunity.

"It is a big ask and it is going to be very tough to get past a quality Munster side. But we are good enough."

https://stv.tv/sport/rugby/1436351-darcy-graham-we-put-pride-back-in-the-scotland-jersey/ | default

Hogg returns for Warriors

Scotland star Stuart Hogg, meanwhile, returns for Glasgow's Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens after suffering a shoulder injury while on Six Nations duty last month. 

It will be the full-back's first appearance for seven weeks.

 Assessing Glasgow's challenge against Saracens, Warriors hooker Fraser Brown said: "It is so difficult against them. 

"You have to play for 80 minutes, and if you give them two or three opportunities or fade away in the last 15 minutes, they are such a quality side with great players that they can really put you to the sword. 

"So we know that we have to play well for 80 minutes, we know that we have to be accurate and keep hold of the ball."

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