Former Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill reckons rewarding failure is behind Scotland’s inability to produce young players for the national team.

Cockerill is back in Scotland to take on a mix of Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh A team players with his Black Lion squad in a closed doors friendly tonight and reckons the struggles are down to those in charge at Scottish Gas Murrayfield.

Scotland’s player development has been criticised in recent years with the U20s being relegated from the top tier of World Rugby and struggling in the Six Nations too with no wins during this year's tournament.

Defeat to Uruguay last year was a shock result for the U20s and they were unable to be promoted back to the top level but they have the opportunity to do so when the U20 World Trophy comes to Edinburgh later this year.

Cockerill spent four years in charge of Edinburgh before moving on and he’s frustrated by Scotland’s struggles but believes they only have themselves to blame.

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In an interview with The Times and the Daily Mail, the 53-year-old was clear in his views that until people stop being rewarded for failure then the cycle will continue and that’s a bad thing for Scottish Rugby.

He said: “The biggest thing I think about the [Scottish Rugby] Union is, if you’re not very good at your job, you don’t leave. They’ll just move you somewhere else.

“A lot of the young players in Scotland just physically aren’t capable. When I arrived in Edinburgh in 2017, I felt a lot of our players in the youth system were physically underdeveloped. 

“The people who were in charge of those programmes back in 2017, who I didn’t believe were good enough, are still there now.

“How can you change anything if nothing ever changes? That’s the reality.

“I coached seven games in Montpellier. I won one of them and got the sack Scotland got relegated from the Under-20s World Cup. They lost to Uruguay. Are you telling me Uruguay have a better youth system than Scotland?

“If you don’t change anything, nothing will change. Do you know what I mean? There’s no direction in terms of actually changing anything. If the same people are kept in place, running the same programme that clearly isn’t producing results, why will anything change?

“I joined Edinburgh in 2017 and the two best tightheads [in Scotland] were Zander Fagerson and WP Nel. That’s still the case now seven years later. Where’s the next young kid? That’s a concern. Italy are getting stronger and Georgia are getting stronger, I’ll make sure of that.

“When this generation of Scotland players slowly starts to fall off the edge of the cliff, who’s going to take over?”