EDINBURGH still have plenty of imperfections, but one area in which they have improved considerably under Richard Cockerill is their approach to games against teams they should beat convincingly.

Previously those so-called potential banana skins all too often turned into actual slip-ups; now, they got the job done with greater self-discipline and altogether less self-doubt.

That improvement was demonstrated once more in Saturday’s 36-0 win over Agen, a final Pool Three result that has taken Cockerill’s side into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup and an away match against Bordeaux on the first weekend in April. There were patchy spells in both halves, and it took a while before they worked out how to break down an Agen side who had nothing to play for in the competition. But they got there comfortably in the end, leaving the head coach satisfied with a professional performance.

“They’re always difficult,” Cockerill said. “You should win, and for this team it’s more of a challenge than playing a team where you’re expected to struggle. It was job done and we just move on. You can’t over-analyse every game you play: it was a five-try win and we take it and we just get on with it.”

Four of the five tries came from Scotland winger Darcy Graham - three late in the first half and one after the break - while the fifth was scored in the dying minutes from the other wide man, Duhan van der Merwe. Jaco van der Walt added two conversions and a penalty, his replacement Simon Hickey chipped in with another couple of conversions, and all was well in Cockerill’s world.

Well, almost. The former England hooker would have preferred a trip to his old club Leicester in the last eight, or failing that a visit to Bristol – as one of the three best

runners-up, they knew they would be given an away draw. Curiously, if Edinburgh had failed to get a bonus point they would have fallen one place down the seedings and gone to Bristol, which on paper would be not so tough a task as going back to Bordeaux.

Still, having seen his players negotiate a pool that also contained Wasps, Cockerill is confident they will have a decent crack at Bordeaux when the time comes. And in any case, with the quarter-finals more than two months away, and a fortnight’s break being followed by a return to PRO14 action, he has other concerns at present.

“We know that if we can get everybody fit and healthy on the field we can test any team,” he said. “We’ll look forward to a bit of down time now, then a couple of weeks’ training into [matches against] Scarlets and Connacht and Cardiff, which are going to be huge. We’re halfway through the season, we’re doing all right, we’ve just got to keep battling away and collect as many points as we can in that international period. That is going to be key.”