Saturday 24 February 2018

Flood boots Leicester to sixth straight Premiership final berth

English Premiership round-up

Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill was critical of Chris White despite seeing his side seal a sixth successive Guinness Premiership final appearance with a 15-6 victory over Bath at Welford Road.

Five penalties from fly-half Toby Flood did the job for the Tigers, but former England hooker Cockerill was exasperated by several decisions made by White in the semi-final, particularly at the breakdown area.

"I was a little bit frustrated with some of the decisions. I just want consistency, that's all," said Cockerill. "When you drive a scrum back five metres on the 22-metre line and they stand up, exactly like they did when they were given a penalty in the first half, you would expect the referee to give a penalty to us for that good bit of play.

"There is a lot of skill in scrummaging -- they (props) are very expensive people to buy and you would like to be able to use them, wouldn't you?"

Bath had taken a 6-0 lead after the in-form Olly Barkley had kicked two penalties as Leicester made an uncertain start.

But the hosts slowly began to take a stranglehold on the game and Flood's boot was enough to make their dominance tell.


"We were a bit jittery after last week (a defeat to Saracens); neither side looked like scoring. It was very attritional and we defended well and by and large we were well disciplined."

The win sets up a rematch with Saracens in the final. The London side beat the Tigers at Welford Road last weekend to end Leicester's proud unbeaten home record, which had stretched back to September 2008.

Saracens' try hero Schalk Brits described his side's the gripping 21-19 play-off victory over Northampton as the toughest game of his career. Hooker Brits' injury-time touchdown, converted by out-half Glen Jackson, sealed Saracens' narrow victory. It ended a run of six successive semi-final defeats in all competitions during the past four seasons.

Brits and Saracens rugby director Brendan Venter face RFU disciplinary hearings tomorrow following incidents during the win at Leicester eight days ago.

But nothing could detract from a brilliant performance which broke Northampton hearts.

"It was so physical -- the toughest game I have played in," said South African Brits.

Brits struck deep into injury-time when he was driven over Northampton's line.

The score required video referee ratification before Jackson, who leaves Saracens this summer to become a professional referee in his native New Zealand, struck the match-winning kick.

Irish Independent

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