Cockerill hails Ford display
February 25, 2012
Horacio Agulla goes over for the Tigers © Getty Images
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill praised the performance of George Ford after the teenage fly-half stepped up to replace England's Toby Flood in the 42-15 Aviva Premiership defeat of Newcastle.
With Flood on Six Nations duty with England, Ford was again given the chance to show his potential and kicked 12 of the Tigers' points as well as creating plenty of headaches for dad and Falcons defence coach Mike Ford. Thomas Waldrom crossed for two tries, while Horacio Agulla, Julian Salvi, Billy Twelvetrees and Niall Morris all added to the tally but it was Ford who was picked out by Cockerill.
"George Ford ran the show well at fly-half, Billy Twelvetrees was strong in the centres and it is pleasing that we can play that well with so many back-line players missing," he said. "It was a very dangerous game for us, but I was delighted with the all-round performance.
"Newcastle kick the ball well and their defence has been very, very good, so to play as slickly as we did was a real boost. We dominated the breakdown, our set-piece was really good and the whole performance was very pleasing.
"You have to take the result in context of the ambition of the opposition. Newcastle race to the line and make the breakdown quite hard, and I was delighted with how we coped with that."
Newcastle responded with second-half scores from Jon Golding and Richard Mayhew but never looked likely to pick up a losing bonus point to aid their battle against the drop.
"Full credit must go to Leicester because they are a quality team, and their confidence was buoyant after beating the champions away from home last week," said director of rugby Gary Gold. "In saying that, this was our worst performance by a country mile and I am very disappointed by what I saw out there.
"When the penalty count is 12-4 against us and we have two yellow cards to none from Leicester it is tough to take. I have the benefit of hindsight in seeing the replays, but I am mystified by some of those calls.
"It is too much of a coincidence that so many of them went towards the home side, but that is not the reason we lost the game. The reason we lost is because we were very poor in the first half whereas Leicester were very good, and we were beaten in every facet of the game."
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