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

Saracens punished us says Cockerill

Figure image
Richard Cockerill says the Leicester Tigers squad will have to dust themselves down and bounce back after a 49-10 defeat at Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens on Saturday.

Tigers suffered a record Premiership defeat on their first-ever visit to Allianz Park, though there no few signs of what was to come when just three points divided the teams approaching the 40-minute mark.

“We did some good things in the first half and at 13-10 coming up to half-time we were right in the game,” said director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“Then we had a very harsh yellow card for Graham Kitchener and we conceded 15 points in that period. That was key for us.

“From then things conspired against us a bit and at times we were also architects of our own downfall and we weren’t good enough. We got ourselves into trouble and got punished.

“Take nothing away from Saracens, though, and how they played in the second half. They deserved the win and their power was the key for them.”

Cockerill made eight changes to the team with a six-day turnaround from the win over Montpellier in the south of France, giving a first start of the season to Mathew Tait and Pablo Matera.

“We have injuries and we’re trying to keep the squad as fresh as we can – you can’t keep putting the same guys out every week,” said Cockerill.

“We had two massive weeks against Montpellier and we have the EPS agreement which meant we rested Dan Cole today. That can compromise you a bit, but I’m not going to make excuses. The performance had to be better than that and Saracens deserved their win.

“You cannot keep rolling the same guys out every week but I make those choices and I take responsibility for them.

“The side was good enough to do better than that. But Saracens are a very good side, they played very well and deserved to win.

“Sometimes you lose, all you can do is suck it up and get on with it.”

Tigers also lost Matt Smith with a suspected broken thumb and his replacement Terrence Hepetema lasted just 10 minutes before suffering a bang on the head which meant another change with the introduction of Adam Thompstone in midfield.

One positive for Cockerill to take out of the game came in the form of Mathew Tait making his first appearance since last season’s Aviva Prmeiership Final. After overcoming a lingering ankle injury, Tait lined up at full-back and came through the full 80 minutes.

“It’s good to have him back and he came through a full 80 minutes,” said Cockerill. “That probably wasn’t part of the plan but we’d already made changes.”

Tigers now return to Welford Road for successive home games against Sale Sharks on Saturday and Bath on January 5.