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Cockerill crows about Tiger cubs

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill hailed Leicester Tigers' emerging young talent who starred in the club's 39-16 LV= Cup triumph over the Ospreys at Welford Road.

Hooker Harry Thacker, 19, son of former Tigers hooker Troy, was named man of the match on his first start for the senior team, while centre Javiah Pohe, also 19, caused all sorts of problems for the Welsh visitors.

Cockerill was delighted with the win, Leicester's first in six games, after criticising his side following last week's Aviva Premiership defeat by Harlequins.

But he was also pleased with many of the youngsters, with half the team having come through the Academy.

He said: "It wasn't necessarily about winning tonight, it was about us trying to play well.

"We looked at the bigger picture. We could have fielded a better side, as could Ospreys, but we both chose to put out a mixed team.

"Some of those young lads stood up to the test and did very well. The guys have got to take these opportunities and some did that.

"They will get another opportunity next week. Some will show that if we have issues in the first team they have the potential to step up. That's what it is about.

"Javiah Pohe showed up well in midfield tonight and carried the ball well, and Harry Thacker did a good job.

"Can he do that in the Aviva Premiership against bigger, stronger, better sides, I don't know. If he keeps playing like that will get an opportunity."

Leicester scored four tries through Thomas Waldrom, Sam Harrison, Harry Wells and Michael Noone, while Welsh fly-half Owen Williams, 19, who signed from the Scarlets in the summer, kicked 19 points.

Ospreys' only try came in the 73rd minute from replacement Sam Williams, who was one of two Ospreys sin-binned, the other being captain Lloyd Peers.

Fly-half Sam Davies, the world junior player of the year, kicked 11 points.

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy felt his side were still in the game at half time when they trailed 14-9 but suffered from a lack of possession in the second half.

He said: "You don't like losing when you represent the Ospreys but there was a lot of fight shown by the young guys.

"It was a harsh lesson playing at Welford Road when you only have 12 per cent possession in the second half, but it was good experience.

"At 14-9 down we were still in the game but we gave away some cheap penalties and with 12 per cent possession you are never going to win."


From Belfast Telegraph