Cockerill: I have no case to answer
May 17, 2011
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill and coach Matt O'Connor © Getty Images
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill has dismissed reports that he used foul language towards Rugby Football Union (RFU) referee assessor Brian Campsall in the Tigers' Aviva Premiership semi-final win over Northampton, insisting that he has "no case to answer".
Newspaper speculation had suggested that Cockerill, and head coach Matt O'Connor, may face disciplinary action from the RFU over the manner in which they voiced their displeasure at the performance of Referee Wayne Barnes at Welford Road.
Cockerill has confirmed that he has spoken to Campsall and RFU referees' chief Ed Morrison and slammed allegations that he had used foul and abusive language as "poor journalism".
"I want to state categorically that I did not use foul and abusive language and I was not aggressive towards Brian," he said. "I have spoken to him and Ed Morrison, the head of the RFU referees' unit, and they had no issue with my behaviour during the game or my attitude towards Brian.
"I take great offence in how it was reported, there was no foul and abusive language. I was not aggressive towards anyone, it was portrayed poorly and it was poor journalism. I refute all those claims that were pointed out to me in the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday newspapers.
"As far as I am concerned I have no case to answer, the allegations are untrue and I find it a little bit wrong that those things can be written and made up in a national newspaper when it is very high profile and I get slagged off and look to be a foul-mouthed yob when that is not the case."
Saturday's win has set up a Twickenham appointment with Saracens on May 28, but the Tigers face an anxious wait to see whether centre Manu Tuilagi will be available after his attack on Chris Ashton.
Tuilagi should have been red carded, but both players were sin-binned over the incident on the recommendation of assistant referee Robin Goodliffe. The RFU are expected to confirm that the Premiership's Young Player of the Year has been cited for the altercation. "He reacted poorly, he threw a punch and you can't do that. The rules say if you strike or punch a player you get a red card. I expect he will get a sanction," Cockerill said.
Meanwhile, Gloucester players are to be reminded of their responsibilities when they post messages on social networking sites. Head coach Bryan Redpath confirmed the move as part of each player's end-of-season review. It comes less than 48 hours after centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu hit out on Twitter following their 12-10 Aviva Premiership play-off defeat against Saracens.
"We are meeting with every player over the next two days as part of the end-of-season review process," Redpath said. "As part of this process, I will remind each and every player of their position as a spokesman and an ambassador for Gloucester. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but, as professional rugby players, their views and opinions are monitored by thousands online. They have to be aware of this and responsible in their postings as a result."
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