Martin Castrogiovanni tears into Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill in foul-mouthed tirade after Toulon defeat

Former Leicester prop swears no fewer than 12 times as he hits out at his former club and head coach over claims he left the club due to financial reasons

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The Independent Online

Former Leicester Tigers lock Martin Castrogiovanni launched an astonishing attack on his former director of rugby Richard Cockerill a c*** as part of a foul-mouthed tirade following Toulon’s 25-21 European Champions Cup defeat on Sunday.

Castrogiovanni left the Tigers at the end of the 2012-13 season after spending seven years with the Premiership club in order to join reigning European champions Toulon in the south of France. Toulon are favourites to reign supreme in Europe for a third straight season, although they came unstuck at Welford Road yesterday in what was Castrogiovanni’s first return to his former stamping ground.

What was even more surprising than a Leicester win was Castrogiovanni’s reaction in the post-match press conference.

 

After summoning the “English media”, the Argentinian-born Italian prop said: “I never had the opportunity to defend myself when I left because people talked about this s*** and money and Cockers talks about the money, but the real thing when I left this club is because you have [Dan] Cole and you have me,” said Castrogiovanni.

“Cole gets paid half the money from the RFU and I am foreign. What the f*** you want? You have a good f****** tighthead prop playing for England and a hairy f****** Italian. The thing is that they made it look like I went for the money but I paid £100,000 from my pocket to leave this club because I want to play rugby. That’s it.

Leicester Tigers 25 Toulon 21 match report

“I always love this club and I wanted to clarify and talk face to face, which is something Cockers never does. I think in the last few years people are getting sacked and this club was not like that before. They used to respect people, now they act like nothing is going on. That is not from the club, that is from the guys in charge.

“Everything you do in your life – good or bad – will come back to you and they sack people who have been at this club for 17 years. When I get to this club it was all about the shirt and the badge. It is easy not to talk about the money when you don’t really follow the club. I loved this club and I didn’t leave for the money.

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Castrogiovanni remains a popular figure among the Tigers supporters

“Fair enough they deserved to win today. They played really well and we didn’t play our standard. They should play their game of lives. I never want to speak with Cockers any more. I am the kind of guy that if I hate you, if you are not clear with me or if you have been a c***, how you say in English, I never want to speak to you anymore. That’s it. That’s how I am. I am not fake. If I hate you, I say in your face and I will never speak to you again. Love me or hate me. I don’t hate anyone. Peace and love. I just don’t like c****.

“I thought f****** Leicester were a f****** amateur team. What about that? If they lost another game at home he [Cockerill] was going to get the sack. Everyone wants to win games against us because we are the best and it’s normal. They played quite a good game, they were physical but they’ve just won a game. All they’ve done is win a f****** game. Now they need to come to our home and we’ll see. We’ll see next week what’s going on.

“I just wanted to say that Cockers is talking too much. He’s just won a game and there is still a lot of f****** games to play in this tournament. He was saying that people go for the money but he has a lot of f****** squad players who get paid as well. I paid my own f****** money to leave this club. I don’t need the money to play rugby. I love this game and I used to love this club – I still love this club, but when people are up to here in water, they talk this talk but don’t walk the walk.

“I left half of my heart here and I still love this place. It was a little bit strange to go into a different changing room but this is life as a professional rugby player. It felt like my first game for Italy against Argentina; there was a lot of emotion going around but soon you forget everything when you start playing.

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Castrogiovanni made a winning farewell from Leicester in 2013

“It was quite beautiful and I really enjoyed it. You never want to hate a player being in another shirt. A club is a club and life keeps going but when you get a lot of love from people like that they understand that you are a good person and you give the heart for this club. That is what made me happy because I think they understand that and I think they realise that. A player never wants to be bigger than this club.”

Coeckerill, having already spoken to the media to revel in the Tigers’ victory, returned to the press room after Castrgiovanni’s outburst, but played down the spat and said he’s sure they “have a beer together and smile about it” in the future.

“I’ve a lot of time for Castro – he’s a fantastic player and icon for this club and a great guy,” said Cockerill. “I always said I would pick on merit and I did. Dan Cole was third choice behind Julian White and Castro and worked hard to become first choice. Castro was released from his contract a year early and we agreed a transfer fee with Toulon. One day he’ll realise that’s just sport. This club made him the player he was. I don’t want him to feel bitter towards us. One day we’ll have a beer together and smile about it.”

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