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Cockerill blasts performance

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill admitted "we got what we deserved" after the Tigers suffered a humiliating 45-0 Aviva Premiership defeat against Bath at the Recreation Ground.

The Tigers failed to score for only the second time in Premiership history as rampant Bath scored five tries and England fly-half hopeful George Ford kicked 20 points.

And to rub salt into a gaping Leicester wound, replacement scrum-half David Mele was sent off for stamping late in the game.

"We couldn't cope with the set-piece, and if you get no set-piece parity you are always going to struggle," Cockerill said.

"Credit to Bath. It was pretty average from us, at best, and we got exactly what we deserved.

"If you have got the quality we've got missing, some day it is going to hurt you, and today it hurt us. That's not an excuse, we should play better and I am bitterly disappointed.

"It is my responsibility, my fault. I pick the team, I coach the team. The loss today is down to me, and we will deal with it on Monday."

Premiership clashes between two traditional heavyweights of the English game tend to go the distance, but this latest bout proved a no-contest inside 40 minutes as Bath raced clear before finishing Tigers off.

Ford booted three penalties, a drop-goal and four conversions, while Semesa Rokoduguni, Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Olly Woodburn and Peter Stringer scored tries to leave Leicester reeling.

Watching England coaches Mike Catt and Graham Rowntree could not fail to have been impressed by Bath's all-singing, all-dancing game, which was highlighted by 21-year-old Ford running the show like a seasoned veteran.

It meant Bath preserved a 100 per cent Premiership record this season after three games, but Leicester emphatically lost theirs on an afternoon when only flanker Tom Croft performed at anything approaching top gear.

"Bath were very good," Cockerill added.

"They played very well, and we couldn't cope with the physicality with the side we had available. We played poorly and we got exactly what was coming to us.

"Once you lose the physical battle in a game of rugby you are always going to struggle."

Centres Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen both missed the game with what Cockerill described as niggling injuries, but he could not have envisaged how Leicester would implode.

"We got beaten at every contact, every scrum, every lineout, every bit of skill," Cockerill said.

"It hurts every time you play as poorly as that. We got our backsides smacked, and that's how it is.

"It's one game out of 22. The performance today was far from ideal, but I can assure you it will be different next week."

Bath head coach Mike Ford hailed his team after they delivered one of their finest displays in recent seasons.

"Today, we were pretty good in all aspects, relentless really," Ford said.

"To nil Leicester is absolutely fantastic.

"This time last year we were 21-3 up at half-time against Leicester and they came back at us. We seem to be better at learning from the past. That is what this young team needs.

"We know they (Leicester) have got injuries, but the way we played - the way we defended and attacked - was outstanding.

"The forwards set the platform, and the kids really enjoyed themselves behind the scrum.

"We've got Northampton away now, which is a sobering thought. We just want to get better and better. There is loads of potential in this team.

"Northampton is a great challenge, but it is only September."

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