Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill savoured his team’s reversal of fortunes against Munster on Saturday.
The director of rugby’s job was reportedly on the line following their European record 38-0 defeat at Thomond Park. Yet after a week of feverish speculation in the English media, the much-needed Champions Cup victory at Welford Road gave him the opportunity to bite back at what he felt had been unfair criticism of his beloved club rather than of last week’s poor performance.
“We are a big club. We deserve to be treated with respect even when it is shit because we have a different model of how we run the club; we are proud of that and sometimes you lose,” Cockerill said. “It has been an opportunity for some people to have a real crack at the club from top to bottom and it is not right.
“Clubs like us who are traditional and we run our business in a good sound way and we should be congratulated. There may be some ups and downs on the way but we will be here in 50 years and 70 years and 100 years, whether I am here or not is irrelevant. I feel passionate about that — the stuff that has been spoken about and written about.....performance is fine but around the fabric of the club it is not right.”
Cockerill praised his players’ attitude adjustment after the previous week’s drubbing in Limerick.
“We went to a meeting on Monday and I asked the players to write down one word to describe the performance and most of it was ‘embarrassing’. So ‘where do we go from here then fellas?’ And we worked back from there.
“They are good blokes, they are good players — they didn’t mean to play that shit. Sometimes it happens.
“It is not all fixed because we won one game with a kick from 55 metres. We have still got a lot of work to do on and off the field.
“That wasn’t a team out there that didn’t want to play, that wasn’t a team that didn’t want to fight for the club. I am not sure that is a team in decline.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved