Pro14 officiating 'becoming a joke' - Edinburgh's Richard Cockerill

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Pro14 highlights: Edinburgh 16-15 Zebre

Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill says the quality of officiating in the Pro14 is "becoming a joke".

Cockerill was angered by some decisions in Edinburgh's 16-15 win over Zebre at Myreside, having already criticised refereeing displays this season.

"I give up around the quality of the officiating," he told BBC Scotland.

"The last four weeks there have been so many inaccurate decisions or non-decisions that it's actually becoming a joke."

Edinburgh struggled to assert any sort of dominance in the game, with Stuart McInally's breakaway try the highlight of a patchy display from the home side.

Cockerill was disappointed in his team's performance, but felt the calls made by Italian referee Marius Mitrea undermined Edinburgh's attempts to put pressure on Zebre.

"Dougie Fife made a line break from 50m out, they're offside from the next phase, there's no yellow card," the former Leicester coach continued.

"We kick the three points but how are you meant to play if every bit of positive play is killed by negative play?

"We kicked the goal to go in front, the next kick-off their prop is two metres in front of the kicker and he [the referee] just chooses to ignore it. That's a scrum back to us - they're big moments in the game. But we've got a lot to improve ourselves as well."

Richard Cockerill and Duncan Hodge
Edinburgh coaches Richard Cockerill and Duncan Hodge have guided the team to three wins from six in the Pro14 Conference B this term

The win ended a three-match losing streak for Edinburgh, but Cockerill, while pleased at the character his side showed to see the game out, remains frustrated that they continue to play within themselves.

"We'll take the four points, that's important. Disappointed with the performance," was his assessment.

"What we're doing in the training week is a lot better, but at the moment the players when they're under pressure don't seem to be able to transfer that to the matches. That's disappointing but we've just got to keep working away at it.

"There's parts of our game that are really good but we decide to concentrate when we're in the hole rather than when we're not. We've got some spirit and character in the team, we just need to be smarter."

Next for Edinburgh is a trip to London Irish in their opening group game of the European Challenge Cup, a competition the club have thrived in in recent seasons.

"It's good to get a bit of a different mind-shift. It's been a tough slog the last six weeks," Cockerill said.

"We've just got to refocus. London Irish playing in the Premiership have had a tough start as well.

"We'll enjoy going down and playing in England. Everybody tells me that the Scots love going down there and putting it amongst them.

"This side have done well in the European Challenge Cup in recent years. It'll be tough down there but hopefully we go down there and turn up."

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