Cockerill: We matched their passion
January 2, 2011
Man of the Match Jordan Crane talks to ESPN
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill was satisfied with his sides "workmanlike" 22-15 victory over Exeter.
The reigning champions hit the top of the Aviva Premiership table for the first time this season with a fourth league victory in a row at Sandy Park. But Cockerill was not about to get carried away with the win which came courtesy of tries from wing Alesana Tuilagi and Jordan Crane (two).
"It was a bit of a workmanlike performance at times," Cockerill said. "I thought our tactics were pretty good and we controlled the game just about enough. If you want to try and be top of the Premiership table I think these wins are quite important. It [Sandy Park] is a difficult place to come and other sides will have difficulty getting points here.
"With all respect to Exeter, we know that we are probably the better side and it was just whether we could match that passion and stop them playing and I thought we did that well. We've had a lot of rugby over the past few weeks and we knew that they had time to prepare for this game and would be fresh. But I thought our attitude and physicality was spot on.
"We treated this game the same as any other game against a big side because Exeter are an up-and-coming side. They will become a big side if they continue to have the ethos they have at the moment."
Exeter, in their first season in the top flight, had to settle for a richly deserved losing bonus point for their dogged determination, but head coach Rob Baxter feels his side need to "grow up".
Exeter boss Rob Baxter reacts to his side's defeat
Baxter said: "I told the boys in the dressing room at the end that we are at the stage now where the physical effort that we put into games is not an issue, we have known that for quite a while. But there is an element of also growing up a little and not being satisfied that we put in a big physical effort that keeps us in a tough game.
"The truth is we are still making mistakes in controlling the game that we were making earlier in the season. It is frustrating when you concede a penalty at a scrum that you have talked about avoiding all week. We didn't really do what we said we were going to do.
"These are frustrations that we can deal with and, rather than dealing with them one at a time, I'd rather knock them off a little bit quicker. Maybe I am being unrealistic and wanting too much. But at home in particular we are letting some games slip through our fingers, London Irish was one and now this one.
"But I am the first to give credit to Leicester as they forced a lot of pressure on us and they scored three tries."
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