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Tigers must raise game - Cockerill

Published 25/04/2015

Richard Cockerill acknowledged Leicester's display against London Welsh was below par
Richard Cockerill acknowledged Leicester's display against London Welsh was below par

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted Leicester would have to play "a lot better" than they did in Saturday's 38-17 home win over London Welsh if they want to make the Aviva Premiership play-offs.

The Tigers' victory against relegated Welsh, who had number eight Chris Hala'ufia sent off, moved them into fourth place with two games to go - away to Wasps and at home to great rivals Northampton, who top the table.

Leicester trailed 10-7 at half-time - the first time the Exiles had led at the break in the Premiership - but scored five tries after the interval to clinch a bonus point.

Cockerill said he did not make changes at half-time because the players who had got Tigers "into a hole" had to get them out of it, and said they had to play better at Wasps on May 9.

He said: "We need to play a lot better and when we go to Wasps there will be a different mindset, from us and them.

"London Welsh have made sides struggle for 50, 60 minutes before dropping off, and they did the same to us.

"The first half was very disappointing after a good start; the second half better. But it was a poor game of rugby. They played negatively. There was some relatively inconsistent refereeing and we were inaccurate.

"We turned the ball over and did not play the stuff we practised. We got what we deserved and were behind at half-time. The way we played was pretty ordinary. Put all that into the mix and it was a poor spectacle."

London Welsh director of rugby Rowland Phillips felt Hala'uifa's 55th-minute sending-off had a "massive influence" on the game.

The big Tongan was yellow-carded by referee Tim Wigglesworth for a shoulder charge type tackle on opposite number Laurence Pearce.

But when the referee saw a replay showing Hala'ufia pushing Pearce's head into the ground while he was on the floor, he decided to send him off.

Phillips was "disappointed and confused" by the decision.

"I did not see anything wrong with the tackle," he said. "The initial call was that it was 'no arms'.

"I don't know whether he was yellow-carded for what was deemed to be a 'no arms' tackle, or red-carded for pushing the guy on the floor. I can't comment on the reasoning, but it had a massive influence on the game."

Cockerill said Hala'ufia's got the red for pushing Pearce's head into the ground, adding: "It's not really what you want to see."

Welsh have just one point from 20 games and have shipped 907 points, but Phillips said losing at Leicester was frustrating.

"You can't be satisfied with conceding 38 points," he said. "We were in front at half-time, and with 20 minutes to go and trailing 17-10 we were still in the game.

"We came here to win, so it's very frustrating for me."

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