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Cockerill critical of Cup referees

Leicester's director of rugby Richard Cockerill claimed Heineken Cup referees are allowing cheats to prosper after Perpignan snatched a 22-22 draw at Welford Road.

Cockerill risked the wrath of competition organisers ERC by criticising the performance of referee Peter Fitzgibbon as the Tigers' European ambitions suffered a setback.

"It is not the referee's fault we drew, we have to deal with the issues - but clearly the lawmakers have some issues to deal with because it was a complete mess at the breakdown," said Cockerill. "It seems to be the sides that want to cheat, lie down at the breakdown, kill the ball and not roll away are getting away with it more and more."

He continued: "They came with a plan to not let us play. We spoke to (ERC match officials performance manager) Donal Courtney and he assured us there would be zero tolerance at the breakdown.

"Clearly there wasn't zero tolerance.

"Every time we got to the 22 they killed the ball, they didn't roll away, they were in at the side whereas we are told it is zero tolerance.

"The lawmakers come out with these mandates and they say 'This is how it is going to be refereed'.

"You try to play, you can't play. The referee doesn't deal with it, you can't ruck anybody, you can't use physical force to move anybody so how are you meant to play the game? I am lost for words on that."

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