Cockerill hits out at Tigers critics

Date published: October 11 2014

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill slammed criticism of the club after they ended a winless streak against Harlequins on Friday.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill slammed “rubbish” criticism of the club after the Tigers ended a run of three straight Premiership defeats with a 22-16 win at home to Harlequins on Friday.

Victory ensured there was no repeat of the last time the injury-hit Tigers lost four in a row back in 2003.

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

“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.”

Wales centre Owen Williams kicked five penalties out of nine and converted a try by wing Blaine Scully for a match haul of 17 points at Welford Road as Leicester won for only the third time this season.

Harlequins, who have also had a mixed start to the season, scored a late try through scrum-half Karl Dickson while former All Blacks fly-half Nick Evans kicked 11 points.

Leicester’s win was made all the sweeter for the Midlands-based side by the sight of England centre Manu Tuilagi returning after injury, while prop Marcos Ayerza was back after Argentina duty in the Rugby Championship.

Meanwhile World Cup-winning All Blacks lock Brad Thorn and Italy prop Michele Rizzo were able to celebrate a victory on their home debuts.

However, both Leicester and England, ahead of the November internationals at Twickenham, were dealt a blow when Cockerill revealed flanker Tom Croft would be out for six weeks with a knee injury.

Croft missed most of last season after undergoing a knee reconstruction and Cockerill confirmed he’d had another operation.

“Crofty won’t be fit for next week,” said Cockerill.

“He has had a screw taken out of the knee that was irritating the joint. That was yesterday (Thursday).

“He is probably six weeks away from playing. It’s disappointing for him and us.”