Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Leicester ponder Cockerill appeal

Richard Cockerill was given a nine-match ban by the RFU

Leicester were on Thursday night digesting the full written judgement outlining Richard Cockerill's nine-match ban and deciding whether or not to launch an appeal.

The conclusion to the seven-page report makes for damning reading, with Cockerill accused by the panel of lacking rugby's core values of "respect, discipline and sportsmanship".

Cockerill was banned after being found guilty of "unprofessional and inappropriate" behaviour and for using "obscene" language in a touchline exchange with fourth official Stuart Terheege during the Aviva Premiership final on May 25.

The incident occurred after a tackle from Northampton lock Courtney Lawes on Toby Flood which Cockerill, who was concerned for the welfare of his injured fly-half, felt worthy of a yellow card and referral to the television match official.

Cockerill twice approached Terheege. On the second occasion, he used "extensive foul language" and said he may have to instruct Leicester players to start taking matters into their own hands.

According to the disciplinary panel's report, written by chairman Antony Davies, Cockerill said "words to the effect that he would be telling his players at half-time to 'smash the c***s because they aren't getting any protection'."

Cockerill insisted the comment was made only for emphasis and that he would not actually have issued any such instruction. He also regretted in hindsight "the extent of language used".

But the three-man disciplinary panel found it to be "an insidious and petulant act intended to threaten match officials into altering the way they officiated". The panel were forthright in their criticism of Cockerill's conduct and "perceived lack of contrition, apology or acceptance that he had done anything wrong".

Leicester have criticised the RFU's handling of the case. The Tigers said in a statement: "There are elements of the way in which they have conducted this case which, in our opinion, calls into question the new disciplinary structure and we will be taking this up with the RFU at the earliest opportunity,"

Cockerill will be confined to the stands and barred from any contact with the team for Leicester's first seven Aviva Premiership games and two European fixtures.

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