Aviva Premiership
Mallinder calls for coaches to show restraint
ESPNscrum Staff
May 18, 2011
Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder offers some instruction, Northampton Saints training session, Franklin's Gardens, Northampton, England, January 5, 2011
Jim Mallinder has called for further restraint by coaches © Getty Images

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes that coaches must keep their cool on the sidelines, even in the most high-pressure of games.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has been criticised for his conduct during the Tigers' 11-3 Aviva Premiership semi-final victory over the Saints last weekend, throwing the debate back into the limelight.

The Tigers director of rugby has since vigorously rejected the media's portrayal of the way he and head coach Matt O'Connor voiced their opinion of referee Wayne Barnes' performance.

"To me, talking to the referee's assessor, shouting at the touch judge or gesturing to the referee actually won't make one little bit of difference," Mallinder said. "To me it's about the clear directions I can give my players and also the people giving messages onto the field. That is how I go about my business.

"It's no different to talking about players losing control on the field. Keeping your cool is part of sport - one of the wonderful things about it. The beauty of it is being able to control your aggression and emotion."

Last season, former Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter was banned from the Premiership final after making provocative and inappropriate gestures and comments to Leicester fans at Welford Road.

In the same campaign, Cockerill received a warning from Judge Jeff Blackett over his behaviour during the play-off win over Bath, also at the Tigers' home ground. The claustrophobic conditions in the stand where the coaching teams, assessors and supporters are positioned have been highlighted in the past as a source of potential problems.

"Leicester [Welford Road] in particular is a bit of a pressure oven," Mallinder said. "The media sit behind the coaches, so they see and hear exactly what goes on. Most of that goes on in most games, it's just at Leicester it's particularly close and confined with everybody there. There needs to be some sort of separation, but also directors of rugby and coaches have to take on a responsibility."

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