Aviva Premiership
Cockerill tips Brookes for bright future
ESPNscrum Staff
July 16, 2011
Newcastle prop Kieran Brookes is tackled, Worcester v Newcastle, Anglo-Welsh Cup, Sixways, Worcester, England, November 7, 2009
Brookes has been labelled the "best young tight-head available in this country" by Cockerill © Getty Images

Leicester Tigers supremo Richard Cockerill has backed prop Kieran Brookes to make an immediate impact at Welford Road.

Tight-head Brookes, aged just 20, is set to come into the side at the start of the 2011-12 season to deputise for international duo Martin Castrogiovanni and Dan Cole, who are expected to be at the World Cup with Italy and England respectively. Brookes, who joined the Tigers from Premiership rivals Newcastle Falcons and won the 2011 Churchill Cup with the England Saxons last month, has been hailed as an outstanding talent with a bright future.

"He is the best young tight-head available in this country by a mile," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "He is a great prospect. He is coming to a club with two world-class tight-heads, and what we want to produce here is the very best players.

"Simply being good is not good enough, and they are the standards that we set here. Kieran knows that, to get into our first team, he has to get in front of two of the best tight-head props in rugby. If he does that, he will be one of the best tight-heads in the world himself.

"They are the tests that we set for all of our young guys coming here and guys like Kieran, Micky Young, 22, and Graham Kitchener, 21, have all accepted that challenge."

Cockerill, who has had the opportunity to cast his eye over his new recruits during pre-season training, is pleased with the start scrum-half Young has made to his Tigers career. The Tigers director of rugby believes the former Falcons No.9 will challenge England half-back Ben Youngs for the first-team berth when the 12-cap international returns from the World Cup, if he also makes Martin Johnson's final 30-man squad as expected.

"Micky Young will put pressure on Ben Youngs," Cockerill said. "They are very similar in lots of ways. Micky is spiky and aggressive and a real competitor and will fit in very well. People were talking of him in the same way that they were of Ben 18 months ago.

"I think he lost his way a bit and the move here will give him the opportunity to step up to the plate against the current English scrum-half. That is something that he wanted to do and he was determined to come to this club. His thoughts were that, if he could get in the Leicester side, there is no reason why he could not get in the England side. We will enjoy watching that competition."

Leicester face pre-season matches against Lyon and Nottingham before starting their Premiership campaign on September 3 against Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.

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