New Tigers trio set to miss opener
August 29, 2012
Miles Benjamin will have to wait for his Tigers debut © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has revealed that he will stick with the same crop of players that got him through their pre-season campaign which means three of his new recruits will not play against London Welsh on Sunday.
While the likes of Richard Thorpe and Vereniki Goneva have been blooded in the past couple of 'friendlies' for the Tigers, Dan Bowden, Miles Benjamin and Adam Thompstone missed the bulk of it due to injury. And Cockerill is not ready to turn his back on the tried and tested which means that the trio will have to remain patient.
"I pretty much know what side I am going to go with on Sunday," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "Now I have to grit my teeth and go and tell everyone.
"That means that Bowden, Benjamin and Thompstone will spend some time in the second team on Monday night (at Northampton). If we were short of bodies, it would be different but, historically, you would like the new blokes coming in to have to earn their spot.
"That is important. Daniel Bowden comes in as third-choice fly-half and second-choice inside centre until he has played well enough to make me think something else. It may have been different if they had played pre-season but lots of them haven't."
That will not be the only selection dilemma that Cockerill has this season. He faces the enviable task of having to juggle two of the league's premier fly-halves in the guide of George Ford and Toby Flood. He preferred to start Flood last term but Ford ended up getting the nod for the Premiership final due to the England fly-half's injury. But going into this season, Cockerill is adamant that both will get their chance to impress.
"At Leicester in particular, nobody's spot is guaranteed," Cockerill said. "We have seen in the past that guys have been left out of the side, when on paper you would have picked them.
"Toby reacts to it very well. He knows that he needs to play very well to be in the side because he wants to play for England. George Ford is younger but he is a very good player too. I am hoping he will kick on and be really good for us. Toby the same.
"Both need to play for us. We want to keep them both long-term. Like we have with (tight-head props) Dan Cole and Martin Castrogiovanni. They are both playing Test matches, they are both playing for their club.
"They understand that not playing every week is beneficial. The difficulty is if they are both playing well. It is a great headache to have, two really good fly-halves."
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