Cockerill rages at performance of ref
December 29, 2012
Ben Youngs was one of four players sin-binned in the match between Leicester and Gloucester © Getty Images
Richard Cockerill was incandescent with referee Andrew Small and demanded that match officials be better "educated" despite his side beating Gloucester 17-12 to move into second place in the Aviva Premiership.
Leicester's director of rugby felt that Small should have sin-binned more than just prop Shaun Knight for continual offences at the scrum where Leicester dominated.
The former England hooker said he would ask Ed Morrison, the RFU's head of elite referee development, to look at a video of the match and insisted that Leicester were not rewarded for dominating the scrums.
"I am lost for words. I have spent 30 years in the middle of scrums. I coach it every day," Cockerill said. "We try to be really professional and then we have to deal with that. It's just not good enough. It has got to end, enough is enough. He (Small) needs to look at it and see his faults and try and improve. That's the whole point of coaching, whether you are a referee or a rugby coach.
"Today's points (for the win) are great; you have to win these games. If you get beaten I don't mind, but I want the rugby to decide, not the bloke in the middle making poor decisions. They need to educate them and Ed Morrison and Rob Andrew (RFU professional rugby director) need to make sure they do that and if they don't do it right, they don't get game, same as our blokes."
Small showed yellow cards to three other players; Leicester's Ben Youngs and George Ford for killing the ball and Gloucester's Will James, also for an offence at the breakdown. Knight was sin-binned at a scrum and over the 80 minutes Gloucester offences reached double figures.
"I'm disappointed," Cockerill continued. "We get two blokes in the bin for breakdown offences and they get penalised 10 times in the scrum, get destroyed for most of the game and get one bloke in the bin. Where is the consistency? We have got a massively dominant set piece because we spend money there and coach it and today we did not get the reward we should have. Guessing is the word I'd use and it's not good enough. Big games decide championships and European spots. You have to get it right.
"I spoke to Ed Morrison yesterday about scrums and line-outs and yet they (referees) do whatever they want. Sides come here and push the boundaries, fair play to them. But they don't get refereed. Referees don't want to be seen to be favouring Leicester at Welford Road. We are in the professional era and we do a lot of homework on referees, so we know exactly what is going to happen and then the scrums are refereed so poorly we don't get the reward because he doesn't want to keep penalising them for cheating."
Cockerill's opposite number Nigel Davies disagreed with Cockerill but admitted his side got beaten at the scrum time and that the result was fair.
"It was a hard-fought game," he said. "We led for large parts, which is testimony to how they work hard for each other. If we are honest we were second best at the set piece. It was probably a fair result although we could have snuck it at the end."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery