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England tour of South Africa
Leicester blast England over Flood
ESPN Staff
May 18, 2012
England's Toby Flood tries to unleash the backline in training, Soccer Dome, Greenwich, London, February 7, 2012
Toby Flood continues to battle an ankle injury © Getty Images
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Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has launched a rebuke toward England coach Stuart Lancaster over his comments regarding the fitness of fly-half Toby Flood.

Lancaster this week hinted that Flood could be ruled out of the upcoming tour of South Africa if he cannot prove his fitness soon. Flood was to have his injured ankle seen by England physio Phil Pask this week at Lancaster's request, but Cockerill refused the visit insisting Flood's injury remains a club matter.

"It's very unhelpful," Cockerill said. "He is on club duty, it's our business and it's not helpful that there is speculation surrounding his fitness. For me it's inappropriate talking about it, just as I wouldn't talk about one of our players while they were on Test duty. It's not my business to do that."

The Rugby Football Union have defended Lancaster, suggesting the England boss was simply answering a question regarding Flood at a press conference. But Cockerill, who is hopeful Flood will take part in the Premiership grand final against Harlequins on Saturday week, does not accept that response.

"He could have said: 'He is being treated by his club and we hope he will be fit for the final.' You don't need to start talking about time frames and when he might be fit. That is privileged information which should be kept between me and the medical staff. That is not to be discussed openly 10 days before a huge game.

"I haven't had an injury update on Danny Care or Ugo Monye. Have you? So why is he talking about Flood in that manner and not the rest of the squad. It doesn't seem right to me and it is not his business at this point. As it wouldn't be if one of our nine guys are on Test duty and they were injured. I would not be telling anyone else that information. It's privileged and should be kept private.

"It's a new regime and, in this instance, it's an isolated incident and I think there is no need for it. Stuart wants to build relationships with the press and that is important but the comments about Toby are out of place, really."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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