Four-week ban for Leicester's Richard Cockerill

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The Independent Online

Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill has received a four-week ban after admitting two offences of match official abuse.

Cockerill, who steered Leicester to the Guinness Premiership title last season, was punished by a three-man Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel.

The charges arose from Tigers' LV= Cup clash against Newport Gwent Dragons at Welford Road earlier this month.

Former England hooker Cockerill is suspended from any involvement with the Leicester team or match officials on game days until December 23, and from coaching mini, midi and youth rugby on Sundays, also until that date.

He was also fined £2,000.

The ban means 38-year-old Cockerill will have no involvement in Leicester's Premiership games against Leeds Carnegie this weekend or away to Wasps on 6 December.

And he must also sit out the key back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes against powerful French side Clermont Auvergne, the club Cockerill played for after calling time on his 224-match Tigers career.

Leicester currently lie fifth in the Premiership, while they are top of their Heineken pool, ahead of the Ospreys, Clermont and Viadana.

Cockerill, capped 27 times by England, took over as Tigers head coach last April, replacing South African Heyneke Meyer, who resigned for personal reasons. Aside from landing the Premiership title under Cockerill, Leicester also reached last season's Heineken final, losing to Leinster at Murrayfield.

Speaking earlier this week ahead of today's hearing, which was chaired by RFU disciplinary boss Jeff Blackett, Cockerill vowed there would be no repeat of the Dragons episode.

"I said a few things in the heat of the moment against Newport, and I have apologised to those concerned," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. You can't do those sort of things. It is unacceptable.

"It's not good enough from me, and I should set an example. I will take the consequences and it won't happen again."

The match was refereed by by 44-year-old Yorkshireman Tim Wigglesworth, with Alan Hughes and Robin Goodliffe operating as his assistants.

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