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Leicester chief Richard Cockerill: Toulon were too good for us

Toulon 23 - Leicester 8

By Andrew Baldock

Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill admitted his side were physically dominated as Toulon took total control of Champions Cup Pool 3 with a 23-8 win at the Stade Mayol.

Leigh Halfpenny's metronomic boot helped the French giants cruise past Leicester and avenge last week's defeat to the Tigers in the same competition.

Last year's Heineken Cup winners saw their nine-match unbeaten run in Europe end at Welford Road last Sunday - in a match that will unfortunately be remembered more for Martin Castrogiovanni's foul-mouthed assault on Cockerill afterwards.

But the Top14 side exacted their revenge in style, with Ali Williams and Mathieu Bastareaud scoring tries, while Halfpenny added a 13-point haul.

Blaine Scully crossed for the Tigers on one of the few occasions Toulon were breached, while fly-half Owen Williams endured a difficult afternoon as Leicester toiled.

Victory takes Toulon five points clear of Leicester at the top of Pool Three and they will now be firm favourites to progress after bouncing back to underline their credentials.

Castrogiovanni was left out by Toulon in the wake of his expletive-ridden tirade last week, while Halfpenny returned at full back and Delon Armitage switched out to the wing.

Cockerill said he was disappointed that his side had got nowhere near their performance in the first match in this double-header. "We were inaccurate and if you give a side as good as Toulon that many chances, you will get punished," he said.

"They played very well and we didn't play as well as we would like. We came second best.

"In games like this, you have to take your chances and we had a chance in the second half when Matt Tait went clean through and if we had scored there it would have been a different game.

"They played well, they are a big team and we struggled to break them down. That's the difference between the squads. No complaints, they were the better team.

"Different interpretations at the breakdown are key. George Clancy referees it differently and they were very good at the breakdown. We have to manage the referee better.

"They were very good with Steffon Armitage and Chris Masoe. They were hard at it.

"It was as simple as the fact that we were inaccurate and you have to be accurate on the big stage.

"Owen Williams had a tough day at the office but he is a young guy learning his trade. He will be better for it. Physically we were beaten by a big strong team.

"Second place is still a realistic position for us. Whether we can get enough points out of our two games though, we will have to see.

"That game at the Scarlets where we were very poor will come back to haunt us because coming here and losing is no disgrace."

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