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Cockerill admits run-in with Italian police made Leicester players look 'silly'

Published 30/08/2016

Leicester Tigers rugby director Richard Cockerill has warned his players over their behaviour.
Leicester Tigers rugby director Richard Cockerill has warned his players over their behaviour.

Richard Cockerill has admitted a run-in with Italian military police in a branch of McDonald's near Treviso has made Leicester Tigers "look a bit silly".

Rugby director Cockerill has confirmed a number of Leicester players have been disciplined internally after an incident following the club's 33-10 pre-season victory over Treviso on Friday, August 19.

Italian carabinieri, military police, were called by McDonald's staff after a player was alleged to have taken food without paying having become impatient in a queue in the early hours of Saturday, August 20.

Leicester boss Cockerill insists the matter was quickly dealt with, as the players involved were disciplined, and now expects the Tigers to start the new Aviva Premiership season without any further fallout.

"The players involved have been dealt with, it is disappointing for obvious reasons," said Cockerill, refusing to name any players involved.

"I would much prefer it not to happen. As the reports say, there was a player who took a cookie from a jar and that was paid for by the time the police arrived.

"It all died down. It was something of nothing but the players involved have been dealt with by myself and that's the end of the matter.

"It is private. It was dealt with swiftly and it was not particularly serious otherwise it would have been dealt with by the police."

Leicester will open their Premiership campaign at Gloucester on Friday night, with Manu Tuilagi fully available for selection.

Cockerill has reminded his players of their responsibilities as professionals in the social media age, but admitted he can sympathise with the constant scrutiny that comes with ever advancing technology.

"It is a danger for everybody, and it is what it is," said Cockerill.

"You are a Leicester Tiger 24/7 and you are judged upon how you behave however good or bad that is.

"Our players do a lot of good things that don't get reported. It is a lesson learnt for some young people about how those things can escalate.

"It made us all look a bit silly.

"My own personal view is that just because a young player is very good at something - and that can be anything - they are still young people growing up and they will still do things that they shouldn't do, like all of us sat around this table and all of your readers too.

"Everybody does things that they shouldn't do. Sometimes they have to experience those situations before they go 'actually, I was told that would happen, it has happened, maybe I should have listened to the old prat who told us it would'.

"I have been there myself so I can understand how that happens, not withstanding that we don't accept or condone that type of behaviour.

"Those players have been dealt with and we move on. I would much rather it have not happened but our players do lots of good things as well."

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