Tigers cruise without Cockerill
Sun, 08 Sep 2013 17:21
Leicester proved they can win without Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill as the champions kicked off their Premiership title defence with a 32-15 victory over Worcester on Sunday.
Former England hooker Cockerill has been denied match-day involvement with the Tigers for nine games until October 9 after swearing at an official in May's Premiership final win against Northampton.
But, with Cockerill absent from the dug-out at Welford Road, Leicester were still able to open their Premiership campaign with a bonus point victory thanks to Fijian winger Vereniki Goneva's stunning solo try in the final minute.
Leicester's other three tries came from Adam Thompstone, debutant David Mele and Jordan Crane as the hosts fought off a spirited second half fightback by Worcester.
Trailing 18-3 at half-time and then 25-3, Worcester scored tries through Chris Jones and Josh Matavesi to put themselves back in the game before Goneva clinched a win which maintained the Tigers' 100 percent record at home against the Warriors.
Leicester backs coach Paul Burke, standing in for Cockerill, admitted the champions still have plenty of room for improvement ahead of next week's trip to Bath.
"Worcester made it difficult for us, they are a good side, they are coached well and they will cause teams a lot of problems this season," Burke said.
"I am very happy with the bonus point but I am disappointed with our performance at times in the second half.
"But it's our first hit out and we will look at it and put it right for the trip to Bath."
Burke also conceded Leicester might have got complacent when leading by 22 points after 47 minutes.
"Possibly," he said. "It's a mindset thing. As champions you are expected to win, you have got everything to lose. We knew Worcester would be physical and get stuck into us.
"Our urgency was poor at times and we allowed them to stifle us. We wanted to play with tempo but with a 17-6 penalty count against Worcester it was difficult to get any momentum."
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Thompstone, Mele, Crane, Goneva
Cons: Lamb 2, Williams
Pens: Lamb 2
For Worcester Warriors:
Tries: Jones, Matavesi
Leicester Tigers: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Anthony Allen, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 David Mele, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Manusamoa Tuilagi
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Ravai Fatiaki, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Jonathan Thomas (captain), 5 Dean Schofield, 4 Mike Williams, 3 John Andress, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Jeremy Becasseau
Replacements: 16 Nick Seymour, 17 Paul Andrew, 18 Rob O'Donnell, 19 Chris Jones, 20 Jake Abbott, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Jon Clarke
Referee: Luke Pearce
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