Cockerill hails Tigers stinging of London Wasps

Richard Cockerill hailed Leicester’s 34-8 victory over Wasps as the Tigers climbed to the top of the Guinness Premiership.


Trailing 8-3 shortly before half-time following Mark van Gisbergen’s second-minute try and after Danny Cipriani had spurned a penalty and the chance to make it 11-3, the Tigers went in front at the break as Johne Murphy’s 40th-minute try was converted by Toby Flood.


Two second-half scores from Lote Tuqiri – the ex-Australia wing’s first Tigers tries – and a penalty try, plus a total of 14 points from Flood’s boot, secured victory at a frozen Welford Road.


Despite a slow start, Leicester Tigers crushed Wasps, particularly in the scrum and rugby director Cockerill praised Dan Cole before quashing talk of an England call-up for the tight-head prop.


“I am so proud because we’ve beaten a very fine team after working so hard all week to get the game on,” said Cockerill on the Guinness Premiership website.


“On average we do 15-20 scrums a week, but I’ve played in France and we have some Argentine guys here so our scrummaging experience is good.


“The scrum has been the foundation of our recent victories and young Dan Cole has played his part. He is a local lad who wants to play for his local club and I don’t want him getting bogged down in talk of England.”


“Dan is only 22 and has lots to learn. But he is playing well, and it’s up to the England coaches. Graham Rowntree is a very good coach and you have to leave that up to them.”


Tuqiri was thrilled to break his try-scoring duck, but was quick to acknowledge the work of the forwards.


“Playing behind a pack like ours is sensational, and it was tremendous to get the tries after being here for seven weeks,” he said. “This is one great club and I’m already having a good time, even with this weather.”


While London Wasps rugby director Tony Hanks was happy with Danny Cipriani’s contribution, he believes the England international was culpable for the loss after spurning a kick which could have extended the visitors’ lead to eight points prior to the interval.


“I was pleased with Danny Cipriani’s performance at fly-half,” said Hanks.

 

“He is back to good form, and while it was a bit ambitious not taking that penalty in the first half when we led 8-3, that is now the reason we go home empty handed.”

Hanks also admitted his side needed to improve in the scrum.


“We didn’t take a couple of penalties when we should, then we lost Tim Payne to the bin and that set us back,” he added.

 

“Scrums are hugely important, and you have to be on your mettle there. We’ll go away and work very hard on that area.

“We’ve got a few injuries and a few guys to come back, but we also need to get working on our scrummage in the coming weeks. You learn and improve by playing, not just working on the scrum machine.”


Hanks added: “Simon Shaw suffered a hyper-expansion of the knee so we took him off as a precaution.”

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