Monday 23 September 2019

Cockerill avoids another kicking

Cockerill: “I don’t think a kick at goal should dictate whether anybody loses their job or not.
Cockerill: “I don’t think a kick at goal should dictate whether anybody loses their job or not." Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images
David Kelly

David Kelly

A week after admitting his side got their "arses kicked" in Limerick, a rather more favourable kick from the accurately swinging boot of the unerring Welshman Owen Williams offered some blessed relief to Leicester boss Richard Cockerill.

It was akin to deciding one's fate upon a coin toss; even if it was not necessarily true that, had Leicester's European challenge ended in just a second defeat in 34 games at Welford Road, so too would Cockerill's tenure at the club.

"It was important for the winning the game," said Cockerill, whose comments are as arrow-straight as his darts were as a player here. Williams himself demurred, correctly, that "this is my job, I'm paid to kick".

"Regardless of whether Owen had kicked it or not," added Cockerill "it was a fantastic game of rugby with a good performance from both sides.

"Those are the fine margins of happiness or sadness I suppose. It doesn't change anything, we are still in the pool just about and there will be less shit written about the club this week.

"I don't think a kick at goal should dictate whether anybody loses their job or not. That is the nature of the sport. If the margins are that fine, then it is a tough place to be."

An impromptu plebiscite before the game would have indicated that most of the locals wished him well amidst reports of showdown talks with chairman Peter Tom in the week; these were rubbished by the coach an hour before the game.

It was a meeting of a different hue which spurred this remarkable recovery from the ashes of a dismal 38-0 trouncing to this fully-deserved triumph with largely the same injury-hit squad seven days later.

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"On Monday, I asked the players to write down one word to describe the performance and most of it was embarrassing. So I said where do we go from here then fellows? And we worked from there.

"They are good blokes, they are good players - they didn't mean to play that shit. Sometimes it happens."

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