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Cockerill: We cannot be complacent


Richard Cockerill's Tigers are hovering just outside the play-off zone

Richard Cockerill's Tigers are hovering just outside the play-off zone

Richard Cockerill's Tigers are hovering just outside the play-off zone

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has underlined the intensity of this season's scrap for Aviva Premiership play-off places.

The Tigers are hovering just outside the play-off zone prior to Sunday's Welford Road appointment with Gloucester.

Although top two Saracens and Northampton are currently clear of the pack, the picture below them is a changeable and congested one.

Leicester scraped a one-point win at bottom club and relegation favourites Worcester last time out, which underlined the Premiership's competitive nature.

"You have got to be careful of all sides," Tigers rugby director Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.

"We are not taking anyone for granted. We are not in good enough form to be complacent. We haven't got the luxury of having a buffer zone to lose games.

"You lose a game you should win, and suddenly you are struggling to keep track on the top four.

"It is whoever blinks first between Bath, Harlequins, us, Sale and Wasps. Exeter have had a couple of results that have gone against them.

"Out of that group of teams, we need to be the ones that hold fast and make sure we are not the ones that drop points that we should get. This period is going to be important for us all.

"Saracens have played the best rugby out of anyone this season, and they lost to London Irish (last weekend), who are third from bottom.

"There is not a side in this competition that can't beat another side.

"We just need to keep what we have been doing well and improve on the other bits, which is a lot across the board at the moment."

Leicester are boosted by the return of England squad members Ben Youngs, Tom Youngs and Ed Slater to their starting XV, with wing Adam Thompstone and number eight Jordan Crane both fit again after injury and Graham Kitchener named alongside Slater in the second-row.

Former England centre Mike Tindall, meanwhile, captains a Gloucester side showing five changes from the one beaten by Sale last week.

Tindall is among the switches, while there are also opportunities for England squad members Matt Kvesic and Ben Morgan in the back-row as the west country club target a rare win at Welford Road.