Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Cockerill: We need patience for Croft

Tom Croft made his third start since returning to action against London Welsh

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has called for patience as England flanker Tom Croft battles his way back to top form and fitness after injury.

Croft, who suffered a broken neck against Harlequins last April, was making only his third start since returning to action in his side's 28-12 Aviva Premiership victory over London Welsh

Cockerill is pleased with Croft's recovery but is not expecting too much too soon from the 27-year-old, and he said: "Tom Croft is sharp, he's a quality player, we know his abilities in the loose but he's not played much in eight months but he'll get better. He's got pace and at times we need that to get us out of some sticky moments but its all positive for me but we do need to be patient."

Looking ahead to their table-topping clash with Harlequins, Cockerill added: "We'll take the medical advice on Tom, I know it would have been Harlequins next week but if it's medically right to play him we'll play him."

George Ford kicked 13 points for Leicester against Welsh, with Adam Thompstone scoring a first-half try and Niall Morris and Dan Bowden also touching down for the Tigers after the break. Gordon Ross scored all 12 of the Exiles' points.

Missing the likes of Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling and Martin Castrogiovanni from the Leicester pack, who are all away on Six Nations duty, Cockerill said it was the win and not the performance he craved before kick-off.

"Obviously there are things that we could have done better and could have made things easier for ourselves but it's about winning at the end of the day," he said.

"We got the four points and at the end of the season nobody will care about the weather or the game, it's international week so nobody cares as long as we win."

London Welsh boss Lyn Jones felt his side had shot themselves in the foot after a below-par opening 40 minutes.

"We were hugely disappointed with our first-half performance and we were undisciplined and gave far too much away to Leicester," he said. "Second half we came back into it and came quite close but we didn't get out of the 22 as much as we wanted to."

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