Cockerill fears diving outbreak

Date published: October 3 2014

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Richard Cockerill has expressed concern over increased simulation in rugby after an unpunished incident.

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has expressed concern over increased simulation in rugby after an unpunished incident.

London Irish’s Blair Cowan was not reprimanded for a punch on Leicester’s Jamie Gibson in the Exiles’ 22-19 win at Welford Road last Saturday.

Referee Greg Garner consulted with the game’s TMO, Wade Dooley, but Cowan was free to play on.

Cockerill leapt upon one comment about the incident from the officials, following the match report being delivered to the RFU, that the punch was not intense enough for Gibson to require treatment and consequently received a lesser punishment.

“The referee and the TMO at the weekend decided that the punch to Gibson’s face didn’t hurt him, wasn’t hard and was just a penalty,” Cockerill told reporters.

“One of the comments that alarmed me the most is that Gibson didn’t need treatment and didn’t go to the floor.

“The encouragement would be that if you get punched then go to the floor, get treatment and the player will get sent off.

“So now the lawmakers are actually encouraging you to dive. I said that is the thin end of the wedge.

“You wouldn’t (coach people to fall down), but it’s getting to that point. Well, it didn’t really hurt Gibson so it is all right. Well, how do you know? How did you know it has not cracked his cheekbone or cracked his jaw?

“At the moment the referee is deciding how hard that punch is.

“And there is a 50 year-old bloke sat in the TMO caravan outside who dictates whether someone gets hurt when they get punched.

“It is pretty subjective. If someone punches me it might hurt, if someone punches you it might not hurt. It is a very dangerous precedent to set.”

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