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Richard Cockerill admits Leicester got lucky against Newcastle

Published 18/09/2016

Richard Cockerill admitted Leicester were fortunate to beat Newcastle
Richard Cockerill admitted Leicester were fortunate to beat Newcastle

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted his side were lucky to come away with the points after Newcastle fly-half Joel Hodgson missed what would have been a match-winning drop goal in stoppage time at Kingston Park.

Hodgson's kick screwed wide from in front of the posts and the Tigers hung on for a 14-13 victory as both sides sought to put last weekend's defeats behind them.

"We're very lucky to get away with a win and we're happy to take the four points," said Cockerill.

"It's four more points than we got here last season! Newcastle played very well and they're always difficult to play here.

"We have to play smarter. There were times in the second half when we didn't control things well. We're encouraging the players to play more with the ball in hand, but we're making a lot of errors and making some poor decisions."

Both sides felt they might have had vital penalties go their way in the closing minutes, with Cockerill adding: "I'm not going to criticise the referee.

"JP (Doyle) will referee as he will and it is what it is. You have to take the referee out of the game and neither us nor Newcastle played well enough to do that.

"We have a lot of things to fix and while we won, the players are disappointed. We're just not looking after the ball well enough and we have to correct that very quickly.

"We could have easily lost the game and we have to sort that out."

Newcastle also felt a little aggrieved they didn't get a scrum penalty when they drove Leicester off their own ball in stoppage time and went close to scoring before then working into a drop-goal position only for Hodgson to fluff his lines.

"The boys decided to go for the drop goal and I have no problems with that," said Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards.

"There were a couple of scrums where we could have been awarded a penalty but it was never going to happen was it and it's a tough call for a referee to give a penalty like that in the closing minutes of the game.

"We had our chances and we didn't take them, it's as simple as that and that's our fault not the referee's.

"We took a bit of a tanking in the second half but came back and probably should have won in the end which is really frustrating.

"However, I am delighted at the way we have turned it around after the Bath game. If you look at where we were at this stage last season we were really struggling, but that's not the case now."

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