Leicester show no sentiment by axing Geordan Murphy

Richard Cockerill denies veteran full-back the chance to go out on a high in the Premiership final

The nearest Leicester come to sentimentality is allowing an old-stager to leave a Tuesday training session with each of his four limbs in full working order, so there was never much chance of the rugby director, Richard Cockerill, wiping a tear from his eye as he consigned Geordan Murphy to the past tense ahead of Saturday's Premiership final with Northampton.

"Geordan has done his bit," Cockerill said of the celebrated Irish full-back – the implication being that he would not be doing any more.

Murphy, the modern-day equivalent of the old-fashioned "one-club man", retires at the end of the season and has already been offered a job on the Leicester coaching staff. What he has not been offered is a place in the team for the East Midlands derby to end them all.

"If Geordan was the best player available, he'd be in the team," Cockerill said. "At the moment, his form doesn't merit that. This occasion is not about Geordan or any of the people who are leaving us: Matt O'Connor [the Leinster-bound attack coach], or Martin Castrogiovanni [the folk-hero prop]. It's about the club, and about becoming champions."

Cockerill was casting his mind back to the Premiership showpiece in 2005, when Leicester finished a distant second to Wasps. "Everyone spent the week talking about the fact that it was Martin Johnson's last game for the club, and Neil Back's too," he said. "Wasps? They kept their heads down during the build-up and won 39-14. We have to concentrate on the detail, not the emotion."

Unless something untoward happens in training, the Leicester No 15 shirt will be worn by Mathew Tait – a player with a brilliant future ahead of him rather than behind him, even though he has been around the block enough times to have been used and abused by more than one England coach and had more than his share of dark days on the injury front.

Tait's resurgence has been one of the glories of the season, to the extent that he has the look of England's 2015 World Cup full-back about him. Was Cockerill surprised that the red rose coach Stuart Lancaster declined to pick him for the forthcoming Test series in Argentina?

"Actually, I think it's a blessing in disguise for Mathew," the former hooker replied. "Everyone knows how good he can be. The important thing for him now is that he concentrates on building his game, keeping himself together physically and maintaining the robust approach we're seeing from him at the moment. If he does that and keeps playing the way he is, there could be something for him with England next season."

Leaving aside a couple of long-term casualties, most notably the lock Louis Deacon, the Tigers go into this last hurrah with a clean bill of health.

Adam Thompstone is fit and will contest the left-wing berth with the Fijian strike runner Vereniki Goneva. So too is the second-rower Ed Slater, one of Lancaster's uncapped recruits for the Argentina tour.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us