Frustrated Cockerill hits out at officials
December 19, 2010
Leicester centre Matt Smith and Perpignan fullback Joffrey Michel compete for a high ball © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill launched a scathing attack on the way in which the rules of the breakdown are being enforced after Sunday's 22-22 draw with Perpignan at Welford Road.
The Premiership outfit looked primed to pick up a crucial victory over their Heineken Cup Pool 5 rivals but Perpignan, despite being down to 14 men following the sin-binning of lock Rimas Alvarez Kairelis snatched a share of the spoils courtesy of late penalty from Nicolas Laharrague.
Cockerill conceded that his side had been punished for their profligacy - fly-half Billy Twelvetrees missed four shots on goal in total - but he was nonetheless incensed with the way in which the game had been refereed.
"It is not the referee's fault we drew today, we have to deal with the issues - but clearly the lawmakers have some issues to deal with because today was a complete mess at the breakdown," he said.
"It seems to be the sides that want to cheat, lie down at the breakdown, kill the ball and not roll away are getting away with it more and more.
"They came with a plan to not let us play. We spoke to (ERC match officials performance manager) Donal Courtney and he assured us there would be zero tolerance at the breakdown. Clearly there wasn't zero tolerance today.
"Every time we got to the 22 they killed the ball, they didn't roll away, they were in at the side whereas we are told it is zero tolerance.
"The lawmakers come out with these mandates and they say 'This is how it is going to be refereed'. You try to play, you can't play. The referee doesn't deal with it, you can't ruck anybody, you can't use physical force to move anybody so how are you meant to play the game? I am lost for words on that."
The draw means that Leicester must now defeat pool leaders Scarlets in Wales and then see off Treviso at Welford Road if they to qualify for the last eight.
"You'd like to think you'd win your home games but it is still all to play for," said Cockerill. "If we want to qualify we have to win both games. Whether it is top of the pool will come down to bonus points."
Meanwhile, Perpignan's former Leicester prop Perry Freshwater was enthused by his side's achievement in picking up two points from their trip to Welford Road.
"Not many teams come here and get any kind of result," he said. "We're very happy. Our form isn't great away from home. It feels like a win. The boys are very happy in the changing room."
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