Guinness Premiership
Cockerill dismisses reports of crisis at Tigers
January 7, 2009
Leicester Tigers coach Richard Cockerill during the Guinness Premiership final at Twickenham, May 31 2008
Leicester coach Richard Cockerill has dismissed reports of a crisis at the club © Getty Images

Leicester Tigers coach Richard Cockerill has dismissed reports that there is a crisis at the club as Heyeneke Meyer's future as head coach remains unclear.

Cockerill took charge of the Tigers for Sunday's Premiership win over Bath, but as speculation mounts over Meyer's return to South Africa becoming permanent, he may be in charge for longer than expected.

Meyer returned to his native South Africa last week to deal with a family illness, the severity of which may keep him from returning to his post with the Tigers.

"There's no crisis at this club and there's not likely to be," Cockerill told The Leicester Mercury. "We are in the top four of the Guinness Premiership, we are top of our pool in Europe and we are doing okay. The win on Sunday was pivotal for us.

"We wanted to show the outside world that we are in good health and good fettle and we will go from strength to strength from here. It was an important two days for us. We are building a bit of momentum, are unbeaten in three games and have been beating sides around us.

"There's a big derby at the weekend (against Northampton) and then we go into Europe. There's a two-week break for us when we can sit down and reassess and move forward from there."

Leicester flanker Lewis Moody, currently returning to form after a long injury layoff, has backed Cockerill to succeed. Moody played under Cockerill when the former England hooker took charge at the beginning of last season as then-coach Marcelo Loffreda was away with Argentina at the World Cup. "Heyneke said that Richard would be stepping in while he is away and that meant it was going to be back to how it was at the start of last season," Moody said. "He has done the job before and he is well respected - but I am sure it is not the way he would have envisaged it happening again.

"We knew that something was awry (with Heyneke), but it was a bit of a shock for everyone when he announced what was happening. Once you have made that decision, the family has to come first. The senior players will have their say while he is away but it is really down to a squad mentality.

"It's time for us to show some guts and to tough it out like we did against Bath on Sunday. We were desperate to win that game and that showed in the last 20 minutes."


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