Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Cockers gone but will not be forgotten

Figure image
It's been an eventful and painful week at Tigers Towers. With respect to Marcelo and Heyneke, the club have just made their biggest coaching announcement since Pat Howard's return to Australia a decade ago or even Deano's final days of a glorious reign.

Richard Cockerill has spent more than 20 years as a Tiger before emptying his desk and his Leicester kitbag this week.
In the best possible way, if ever there was a man who suited the snarling, confrontational nature of the beast, it was Cockers. He loved playing for Tigers, spanning amateur and professional eras, and he loved coaching the team, even if he often peddled the humble line that he “fell into the job” as director of rugby rather than actively seeking it.
After coaching with the academy, Cockers led the forwards under Howard and became caretaker-boss at various times during the gaps created by other departures before taking the leading role himself.
With Cockerill as top dog, Tigers won three Premiership titles, an Anglo-Welsh Cup and reached a European Cup Final – the fifth in the club’s history and the fifth in his experience as player and coach at the club. Tigers never finished outside the top four in the Premiership and only last season reached the last four in England and in Europe.
He also took every opportunity to champion the club’s ethos and traditions while working on taking it forward into a new rugby world.
Along the way Cockers had to develop in his role and he spoke eloquently and passionately about the club, the game and the issues affecting it. He also had to continuously refresh a Tigers team and replace several irreplaceables along the way.
Away from the snarling of gameday, he has remained warm and humble in the presence of supporters, both those behind Tigers and those of the opposition at various points up and down the country and abroad.
It may seem odd, too, when you think back to his attitude on the pitch – most famously as the man who stood too close to the Haka – but The Tig will miss Cockerill’s beaming smile at Welford Road. he will, though, always have his place in the Tigers story.
Tigers have not had a Twickenham appearance or a piece of silverware since 2013, and the pressure on the team and coaches has increased with each passing season. The club, its officials and, yes, us, the supporters, demand success.
Seven years as the leader in such a demanding environment is a long time and now it will be someone else's turn.

Cockerill got the job in the first place on the back of his performances in an interim role. Now that is the challenge for his successor.
Cheers Cockers, and all the best to Aaron and the boys in the remaining months of the season.