Cockerill: ‘We won’t make excuses’

Date published: January 2 2016

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill had no complaints with any of three penalty tries given against his side in Saturday's loss to Saracens.

The Tigers were on the wrong side of the first hat-trick of penalty tries in Premiership history at Allianz Park, with Cockerill his side had failed to front up to the challenge.

Cockerill also defended his decision to select Tom Youngs and Dan Cole on the bench as Leicester rotated their squad.

"I think there’s no getting away from that the first half was a pretty good contest. Second half, make no bones about it, Saracens were very good and our set-piece was substandard. They were very good and we were very poor, credit to them. We’re very disappointed in what we put out there," Cockerill said.

"We got done today royally. There’s no way of talking around that, sometimes that’s just the game and fair play to Saracens. There’s a long way to go.

"It won’t be a comfortable week for the squad or the coaches because that wasn’t good enough.

"We chose to pick the side we picked and I’m not going to make any excuses. If you can’t cope physically in the lineout or scrum then you won’t survive in this league or do well in it. It’s not something we like to see from this forward pack and we’ll be getting ready for next week against Saints.

"We always planned to rotate and trust the squad, which we did. Those people take their opportunities or they don’t and that’s how you find out about players. Next week at home [to Northampton] is a very important game. The thought process was to look after our squad and it’s a tough place to come at the best of times."

Leicester lost Ed Slater and Tom Croft to early injuries with Slater now a doubt to face Northampton next week, while Cockerill hopes to see Manu Tuilagi back in action sooner rather than later.

He revealed: "Croft has got stitches and took a bang to the head from a stray boot. He’s a bit dazed but hopefully ok. Slater has tweaked his knee, he certainly probably won’t be fit for next week.

"[Manu] is alright. We would have liked him today… playing tighthead! He’s doing well, he’s improving all the time and getting into full training.

"Hopefully sooner rather than later he’ll be out on the field."