Richard Cockerill readily admits that he is still assessing his squad, but the former Leicester Tigers and Toulon head coach has quickly learned just what he is up against in terms of the Scottish rugby development process.

In what could be viewed as a challenging critique of domestic structures but seemed intended as no more than a matter-of-fact evaluation of the environment he now finds himself in, Edinburgh’s head coach outlined the nature of a challenge that is different to anything he has confronted previously in having to make allowances for callow errors.

“The thing I’m finding with the Scottish system is that the majority of young players have to learn at the performance end because there’s no other place for them to really play, apart from in a pro team in vital competitions where points are on offer,” Cockerill observed.

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“So you’ve got to accept that young players when they’re picked are going to make errors because that’s the nature of what young players do and they have to learn on the job. That’s slightly different to what I’ve experienced before.

“It’s obviously frustrating, but you have to understand that young players will make errors and you have to back them and put them back in the team and they have to improve week by week and slowly those errors will become less and less and in six, eight, 10, 12 months you’d like to think that you will have a more rounded players, as simple as that.”

Those observations followed on from his assessment of Blair Kinghorn, the club’s 20-year-old full-back, as a player with considerable potential but who, Cockerill stated categorically, is not yet ready to play international rugby.

“No, I don’t think he’s consistent enough to do that,” he said.

“He shows some very, very good things in attack and he’s got a huge amount of potential but I think the errors in his game at Test level aren’t acceptable at the moment. He’s a very good player with a lot of potential, but I think for him to step to the next level he needs to be more consistent at club level which is not making that blunder once a game which unfortunately he does tend to do at times.

“It’s a balance of making sure he understands what he needs to improve and some parts that needs to happen quickly, but also developing the player because that’s part and parcel of my job.

“He’s got a huge amount of ability that he needs to harness and use. He’ll come through and I’ve no doubt that if Blair works hard on his game that he can certainly push on and be an international player and compete with Hogg for that full-back spot. However he’s a young man that’s still learning and he needs to understand the parts of his game that have ti improve if he wants to step up. That’s just normal.”

He was by no means singling out the full-back either.

“The same with (club captain Magnus) Bradbury, the same with (Jamie) Ritchie… over the last 12 months or so, they’ve improved with playing. The same with Luke Crosbie when he gets his opportunity there’ll be some errors in his game because he’s a young man still learning.”

That they will be given their chances on the basis of what he is witnessing in training and in matches was meanwhile underlined when he discussed having introduced James Johnstone, previously considered a sevens specialist.

“To be fair, before I actually picked him I didn’t realise it was his first start for the club, so he’s impressed in training, he’s got a lot of pace and he’s a threat with the ball as we saw at the weekend,” Cockerill explained.

For me he’s just got to back that up and be consistent around the physical parts of the game, his defence in particular and still give us that point of difference in attack which he did at the weekend against a very good side.”

There are five changes to the Edinburgh team for tonight’s meeting with Zebre, one enforced with John Hardie still recovering from a head knock suffered in Dublin and Hamish Watson a shoulder problem.

Edinburgh team: Blair Kinghorn; Dougie Fife, James Johnstone, Phil Burleigh, Tom Brown; Jason Tovey, Nathan Fowles; Darryl Marfo, Stuart McInally, WP Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury capt, Jamie Ritchie, Cornell du Preez. Replacements: Ross Ford, Allan Dell, Simon Berghan, Anton Bresler, Luke Crosbie, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Duncan Weir, Robbie Fruean