Cockerill defends Tigers heritage

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Leicester boss Richard Cockerill hit back at the club’s critics after their 22-16 win at home to Harlequins ended a run of three successive Aviva Premiership defeats.

Cockerill said some of the ‘stick’ from the media had been unfair but admitted he was relieved to avoid a repeat of 2003, the last time they lost four in a row.

“I’m relieved, I’m happy for the players and the club because we have had some stick in the last few weeks,” he said.

“When people say we have lost the hunger and there’s no pride in the shirt, that’s just rubbish.

“People who know this place should have a bit of respect. They can shout at me and think I’m poor but don’t attack the quality of this club and what it’s about.

“We have won the Premiership three times in the last six years, we have won it 10 times. We have won the Heineken twice and produced Lions and England players.

“There are lots of things that are fantastic about this place. You can abuse me but don’t abuse the club, that’s just not right.”

Young Welsh centre Owen Williams kicked 17 points on a filthy night, landing five penalties out of nine and converting a fourth-minute try by winger Blaine Scully to earn Leicester only their third win of the season.

It moved them up to seventh place in the table on 14 points, one place behind Harlequins on the same points.

Quins, who had few chances, scored a late try through scrum-half Karl Dickson who replaced England’s Danny Care after he withdrew due to his wife having a baby. Fly-half Nick Evans kicked 11 points.

Cockerill praised his players but insisted there was still plenty to work on before the European Champions Cup clash at home to Ulster next weekend.

“There’s lots to solve but it’s nice to be able to solve it from a winning point of view,” he said.

“It relieves the pressure a bit but we come back next week against Ulster and carry on. There’s still lots to do.

“We can be better than we were tonight. But I thought the work-rate and attitude of the players, and the way we managed the game, was fantastic.

“We played some good stuff and controlled the game well. Quins did not have many opportunities.”

Cockerill revealed that England flanker Tom Croft will be out for six weeks and will miss the autumn internationals after having a screw removed from the knee which needed a reconstruction last season.

Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea said his side had paid the price for losing the kicking game in the rain.

He said: “We got stuck in the middle of the pitch and we did not deal with their kicking game. The only time we held on to the ball was when we scored.

“We did not play in the right areas of the pitch. That’s the disappointing thing in conditions like that.

“We are not playing as well as we can and we have to go away and work hard until we turn it around, and we will.”

Published: Saturday 11th October 2014 by The News Editor

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