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Red cards do not impress Cockerill

Leicester coach Richard Cockerill was left to rue Alesana Tuilagi's sending-off despite his side's thrilling 30-25 win over local rivals Northampton in the Aviva Premiership.

A tempestuous East Midlands showdown sparked into life in the first quarter when Chris Ashton tackled Tuilagi into touch by his hair, sparking a touchline brawl which saw both Tuilagi and Saints flanker Tom Wood red-carded. It followed last season's controversy in this fixture, when Ashton was on the receiving end of a three-punch salvo from Tuilagi's younger brother Manu.

And Cockerill told ESPN: "You have to be a little bit careful, Ashton dropped a shoulder into Geordan Murphy after a kick and the tackle on Alesana, he's dragged him by his hair into touch. I don't think there was a lot going on involving Alesana at all and he got the red card, we'll have to take a look and review it."

He added: "He could miss Europe next week, which is massive for us on a massive call from the referee - Alesana hasn't thrown a punch, so what's he been sent off for?

"It's disappointing because I think the game was spoilt from that point. I've not seen all the angles but a yellow card for whoever they wanted to blame is enough there."

Cockerill had more to enjoy from his side's display, with tries from Matt Smith, Steve Mafi and Ben Youngs putting them in control at 23-11.

Tom May and Phil Dowson added to Ashton's earlier score to nudge Northampton ahead but Horacio Agulla's late score saw the Tigers to a bonus-point win.

"It was enjoyable when Benny Youngs scored and we were 12 points up, but then we went to sleep and against a quality side with really dangerous players we got punished," Cockerill said.

"That was disappointing but fair play to the lads, they kept playing and took their opportunity at the end to win it."


From Belfast Telegraph