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Goneva vote has Cockerill crowing

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill revealed that Vereniki Goneva had never wanted to leave, after the Fijian celebrated signing a new contract with a try in the Tigers' 27-15 Aviva Premiership win at home to Wasps.

It had been reported that Goneva was on his way to French Top 14 side Castres but the 29-year-old has signed what is thought to be a two year deal.

Goneva scored one of Leicester's four tries in the bonus-point success which keeps the pressure on second-placed Northampton, who are now just two points ahead. Saints play leaders Saracens tomorrow.

Cockerill, Tigers' director of rugby, said: "It has been a long process. Niki wanted to stay. We got him from Tarbes, and when I met him he wanted to come to a big club and try and be as good as he could be.

"We have delivered and he has delivered. He never wanted to leave. It was about getting the detail right contractually. He is happy and we are delighted to have his signature.

"With him, Manu Tuilagi and (Logovi'i) Mulipola and some of the guys we are bringing in for next season we will have a very physical team, and that is what you need at the top end."

Tuilagi, who scored two tries, and replacement scrum-half David Mele completed the scoring as Leicester extended their unbeaten run to nine games, including seven successive wins.

It puts them in good shape for the last three games against Harlequins, Sale and leaders Saracens - but they will have to improve on today's performance.

They will, however, have England and Lions lock Geoff Parling available after he made his comeback in the second half following a shoulder operation which kept him out since November.

Cockerill said: "Job done, we will take maximum points, which is pleasing, but it was a bit of a non-event.

"We were okay, they were okay, but it wasn't very fluid. Quins next week is a big game. We have got a nine-point cushion on them but we have still not qualified for the semi-finals, we are not home and dry.

"We have put a bit of pressure on Northampton but they are still in the box seat for a home semi-final. We have to keep winning and see what comes."

Wasps scored tries through Guy Thompson and Tommy Bell and led 10-7 until Goneva scored in first half overtime.

Wasps boss Dai Young said: "We are disappointed we did not get a losing bonus point.

"We were right in the game until the end. I thought we frustrated Leicester for large parts of the game, but we let it slip away from us."


From Belfast Telegraph