Sunday 18 March 2018

Cockerill calls on Red Army to be patient and keep faith in Foley

Leicester's Richard Cockerill
Leicester's Richard Cockerill
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

For the second week in succession, Leicester Tigers supremo Richard Cockerill has gone out of his way to heap praise on embattled Munster coach Anthony Foley.

The former England hooker was impressed, despite denying his opposite number a bonus point in successive games and inflicting Munster's fourth defeat on the trot even though they produced some good rugby at Welford Road.

Cockerill was frustrated by his own side's play and said that yesterday's 17-6 win was the tougher of the two games. In the end, the Tigers chief said his side's defence was the difference between the two teams, but reiterated his belief that the Irish province are on the right track.

"That was harder (than the win at Thomond Park), because they played really well and came really hard at us," he said. "We were probably a little bit off tonight from where we'd like our standards to be. We made hard work of it at times, but it's a great win. Munster were really good and that shouldn't be unnoticed.


"Foley's had a lot of stick, as a young coach who's making his way. He's a Munster man through and through, his team played bloody well there and people should recognise that and give him a bit of that support, like the club have given me support, to allow Munster grow organically with the blokes that have played for Munster over many years and know what it's all about.

"That's important. Foley did a great job preparing them to come here and, if you look at the detail of the game, and don't just look at the result, Munster were very good tonight and probably unlucky not to get more out of it.

"It's difficult at times. Leicester are a good club, this puts us in a really good place now on 18 points with Treviso at home and Stade away.

"It puts us in a good position to qualify, we just have to do it now. Munster were good tonight, people should support Anthony Foley. You can build something good around good people."

Foley is close to signing a one-year extension to his contract that expires at the end of the season, although he remained coy on the topic after yesterday's game. Top of his mind are Leinster and Ulster who they face before their back-to-back fixtures against Stade Francais.

"You have to try and paint a picture for our players of what they have to do to beat Leinster who were good for long periods against Toulon and they should have won it," he said. "It's going to be tough with Leinster the way they're playing, they're not winning but they're playing well. Ulster have turned the corner as well and they've got momentum so it's a tough fortnight ahead."

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