Cockerill reserves praise for England duo
March 4, 2012
Ben Youngs was on the scoresheet for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill reserved praise for England duo Ben Youngs and Toby Flood after the Tigers' crushing Aviva Premiership win over Gloucester at Welford Road.
The duo are currently out of favour for starting roles in the Six Nations, but they ran the show behind an imperious Leicester pack as Gloucester were destroyed 36-3.
Youngs scored one try and helped create two others, while Flood booted 11 points and kept Gloucester on the back foot in miserable conditions.
"Ben and Toby came back to us on Thursday, and we wanted them to enjoy it today and have a crack," Cockerill said. "We know they are quality players, and I thought they did some fantastic things. Their attitude was really good."
Flood also singled out Youngs, who has slipped behind Northampton's Lee Dickson in the England pecking order.
"It was great to have 70-odd minutes and to feel amongst it," he said. "I thought Ben was outstanding. He has been a bit frustrated of late, but he was a real threat. He enjoys running the game."
Leicester kept themselves firmly in the Premiership play-offs after reeling off a 10th successive victory in all competitions on home soil. Youngs, prop Logovi'i Munipola and flanker Steve Mafi scored first-half tries to underpin Leicester's dominance of a game they controlled in terms of territory and possession, before centre Matt Smith's 58th-minute score sealed a bonus point and an Alesana Tuilagi breakaway effort confirmed the rout.
"The pressure was on us today - we probably had to win more than Gloucester did," Cockerill said. "It shows that if you have the right mental focus, you can turn things around pretty quickly, and I didn't feel that Gloucester were at the races against us.
"We knew that if we matched them physically, and with the weather conditions like they were, it would probably suit us more than them."
Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath pulled no punches after seeing his team suffer their heaviest Premiership defeat since leaders Harlequins thumped them 42-6 six months ago.
"We were well and truly beaten," he said. "You have got to turn up and do the basics, but our basics weren't good enough. Mentally, we didn't turn up. It does not mean you are a bad team, but we have lost to a side that has always thrived in conditions like that.
"There were some harsh words said at half-time, and we will take the criticism. I want to know why we didn't turn up, mentally." We have got three of our remaining five league games at home, and a lot of dogfights are going to happen between now and the end of the season."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch
Tom Hamilton reports back from the launch of the Guinness PRO12 where there is a renewed sense of optimism with all of the off-field changes to the league
So much for the great Australian revival, writes Greg Growden. It now has the potential of going off the rails after the capitulation at Eden Park
The latest Week in Pictures takes in photographs from the Rugby Championship, the Top 14 and the southern hemisphere domestic scene