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Cockerill issues warning


Richard Cockerill

Richard Cockerill

Richard Cockerill

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill came away from his team's stunning 32-23 comeback win over London Irish relieved with the victory, but warning that the same sort of performance would not be acceptable in their upcoming semi-final against local rivals Northampton.

Leicester, beset by errors and having given away two intercept tries, trailed 23-8 with 15 minutes remaining before tries by Horacio Agulla, Anthony Allen, Tom Croft and Alesana Tuilagi secured a remarkable victory.

Cockerill said: "We dominated possession but we were a bit loose with that possession at times, and we won't get away with that next week. If you give Saints a 15-point lead then you're unlikely to claw it back."

He added: "The spirit was never in doubt and even when we were those 15 points down, we were still trying to play and we knew we would get opportunities to win it.

"It was great character to come back into it but we're better than that. We can't chuck those passes: one's a mistake and two is negligent. Then we came out six points down and gave them an intercept. It was good to finish it off properly, but it was disappointing we got ourselves into the hole in the first place really."

London Irish Head Coach Toby Booth paid tribute to the determination of Leicester in coming back so well.

"If you can't get out of your 22m for that length of time, you're going to struggle. Leicester are a very, very good, committed side that will go on to win the Premiership," he predicted.

He also took the chance to look to the future in the form of his younger players, including centre Jonathan Joseph, who had a tremendous battle with Tigers opposite Manu Tuilagi.

"Jonathan Joseph, who had a very, very good start to the season then got injured for a very long period of time, came back and performed like he did in a physical contest where he is probably about half the weight of Manu," he said.

"The long-term future is bright, but the long-term challenge for us as a club is that we're not reliant on these youngsters every week, and that's the difference. It's great to fast track them but we need to make sure they learn as they go and develop them."

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