Cockerill defends poor run of results

Date published: December 29 2016

Richard Cockerill says Premiership teams should resist following football’s approach of hiring and firing coaches fueled by social media criticism.

Leicester’s director of rugby is under pressure from supporters after their 31-10 defeat to Exeter last week, which followed their 38-0 Champions Cup loss to Munster the week before.

Leicester have already sacked assistant coach Scott Hansen this season, Northampton parted company with backs coach Alex King and Bristol fired head coach Andy Robinson last month.

“There’s casualties of this season in coaching set-ups, we had Scott Hansen here, Alex King and Andy Robinson, there’s been speculation around David Humphreys at Gloucester with new ownership,” the Telegraph quoted Cockerill as saying.

“It’s becoming more commonplace isn’t it? The reality is that if we lose two or three games, I’m assured that the reaction on social media indicates I’m not overly popular at times. That’s life. Supporters demand results, and then your head on a stake when you don’t get them.

“But I think rugby as a whole has quite a measured view to it. And generally it takes a relatively long period of poor results for you to get to that point. Exeter are a great club, they are out of Europe – but nobody’s asked Rob Baxter if he’s going to lose his job have they? Whereas we lose two away games, we haven’t even lost at home, we’ve lost once in Europe in about five years, and we lose an away game and I should be gone,” he added.

“We’ve never not qualified. Can you imagine not qualifying for Europe? They want me sacked if we lose a game in Europe. That’s just the nature of it.”

Leicester face defending champions Saracens at Welford Road on Sunday before travelling to face Wasps, but Cockerill is adamant their chances of reaching the play-offs won’t be determined by those two fixtures.

“You have to take results in context and take a measured view of the season,” he said. “But how many times have we had this conversation? On a measured view? Most seasons. All we can do is keep on working hard at what we’re doing.

“Having character and continuing to work through the issues is part of it. We’re still a very consistent side that’s in the mix for silverware every year, and we’re looking to do that again this year.”