Leicester ponder Richard Cockerill appeal after receiving written reasons

The director of rugby has been banned for nine-matches

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The Independent Online

Leicester were last night digesting the full written judgement outlining Richard Cockerill's nine-match ban and deciding whether or not to launch an appeal.

The conclusion to the seven-page report makes for damning reading, with Cockerill accused by the panel of lacking rugby's core values of "respect, discipline and sportsmanship".

Cockerill was banned after being found guilty of "unprofessional and inappropriate" behaviour and for using "obscene" language in a touchline exchange with fourth official Stuart Terheege during the Aviva Premiership final on May 25.

The incident occurred after a tackle from Northampton lock Courtney Lawes on Toby Flood which Cockerill, who was concerned for the welfare of his injured fly-half, felt worthy of a yellow card and referral to the television match official.

Cockerill twice approached Terheege. On the second occasion, he used "extensive foul language" and said he may have to instruct Leicester players to start taking matters into their own hands.

According to the disciplinary panel's report, written by chairman Antony Davies, Cockerill said "words to the effect that he would be telling his players at half time to 'smash the c***s because they aren't getting any protection'."

Cockerill insisted the comment was made only for emphasis and that he would not actually have issued any such instruction. He also regretted in hindsight "the extent of language used".

But the three-man disciplinary panel found it to be "an insidious and petulant act intended to threaten match officials into altering the way they officiated".

The panel were forthright in their criticism of Cockerill's conduct and "perceived lack of contrition, apology or acceptance that he had done anything wrong".

The report concluded: "Giving evidence Mr Cockerill maintained that the use of the words "f***" and "f*****g" were justified in the circumstances.

"He also maintained that players who swear at referees need not be sent off or disciplined. His use of swear words which he did not deny did not, he maintained, make his actions aggressive, obscene, inappropriate or unprofessional.

"Certain of the game's core values, namely respect, discipline and sportsmanship, seem to us to have passed Mr Cockerill by.

"He does not seem to appreciate the corrosive effect of his behaviour upon players, medical staff and other coaches with its attendant loss of moral authority, nor the effect of his behaviour upon the viewing public and the press."

Leicester have criticised the RFU's handling of the case.

"There are elements of the way in which they have conducted this case which, in our opinion, calls into question the new disciplinary structure and we will be taking this up with the RFU at the earliest opportunity," the club said in a statement.

Cockerill will be confined to the stands and barred from any contact with the team for Leicester's first seven Aviva Premiership games and two European fixtures.

The Tigers open their title defence at home to Worcester on September 7.