Belfast Telegraph

Tigers' chief Richard Cockerill lashes out at angry Toulon star

By Andrew Baldock

Richard Cockerill believes that former Tigers prop Martin Castrogiovanni has "sullied" his seven-year playing career with Leicester.

Castrogiovanni's expletive-ridden tirade against Leicester director of rugby Cockerill after Toulon's 25-21 Champions Cup defeat - in Ulster's Pool 3 - last Sunday is being investigated by competition organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

Castrogiovanni sought out journalists in the Leicester press room after the match and unleashed a foul-mouthed rant regarding Cockerill, who Castrogiovanni claimed had suggested the Italy international swapped the Tigers for Toulon last year for financial reasons.

Toulon subsequently announced that they have apologised to Leicester following incidents involving Castrogiovanni and Delon Armitage at Welford Road.

EPCR is also assessing allegations that former England full-back Armitage directed offensive language at spectators.

Toulon have announced they will also be examining the evidence and could punish their own players.

"I'm disappointed," Cockerill said. "In professional sport, people move on for all sorts of reasons.

"He left a year early from his contract. He wasn't getting picked. He wanted to move on because he was of an age where he wanted to play.

"I put a price on him, he agreed a deal and he moved on. We did it in a very professional manner, as you would expect from Leicester.

"I was amazed. I'm sorry he has sullied what was a fantastic playing career here. He was an icon of the club and a fans' favourite.

"There's lots of things about this place. One thing it isn't is an amateur club. For him to say that, for me, it's disgusting. He needs to make sure he apologises publicly."

Toulon face Leicester again on Saturday at Stade Felix Mayol, also in the Champions Cup.

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