Tigers play ball with England

Leicester coach Richard Cockerill revealed none of the Tigers players named in England’s team to start against Ireland will play a full Guinness Premiership game this weekend.

Only Julian White is under consideration for a start against Worcester at Sixways after spending the last two weekends on the bench for England.

The likes of Martin Corry, Louis Deacon and George Chuter will only feature amongst the replacements, if at all.

But Cockerill insisted Leicester’s decision was not a direct response to the Twickenham request that Premiership clubs rest their senior England players, more the implementationof a normal rotation policy.

The former Test hooker was frustrated that Rob Andrew’s request implied the Premiership clubs do not manage their players carefully enough.

“We don’t over-play our players and I don’t think any other clubs do. The welfare of our players comes first,” said Cockerill indignantly.

“You only have to look back to the autumn when Julian White was played four games on the trot (by England) and we had to rest him for three weeks after that.

“We had the players’ interests first. England played him to near exhaustion.

“It is not just England players we look after, we look after all our international players across the board.

“We probably won’t play our Italian forward (Martin Castrogiovanni) and we probably won’t play our Irish back (Geordan Murphy) either.

“Our strategy is that we know we will lose these players for periods of time and we have built a strength of squad to deal with that. Other clubs may not have that luxury.

“But from a Leicester point of view we want to look after our best players because we have big games coming up after the Six Nations and we want them to be as fresh as possible.”

Newcastle confirmed on Tuesday that Jonny Wilkinson will be rested for the Falcons’ Premiership trip to second-placed Bristol as well, also falling into line with Rob Andrew’s plea to have the England starting XV rested if possible.

Andrew made the request because he is particularly concerned about the impact three Sunday fixtures could have on England’s performance just six days later at Croke Park.

Nine of England’s starting XV could potentially be involved in the Newcastle v Bristol, Saracens v Gloucester and Wasps v Sale fixtures.

But it is believed most clubs will take the same approach as Newcastle and Leicester.


365 Digital

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