Richard Cockerill: We joined the Leicester Tiger greats


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The Independent Online

Richard Cockerill says that Leicester's Aviva Premiership success will help his young players step out of the shadow of their dominant predecessors.

Leicester went into yesterday's final on the back of defeats in 2011 and 2012 but Cockerill praised his squad after their victory added some new silverware to the club's collection.

"I'm pleased for the players because the club's steeped in history," said the Tigers director of rugby. "We talk about all the other great teams that have played for the club, the Johnsons and the Backs, and all the others that have gone before them. But now it's about this team; the 2013 side with the young players that have battled through. It's disappointing to come here and lose and we've done it more than once. It's a great victory today. It's what this club's about."

Northampton exposed the Saracens scrum in their semi-final two weeks ago and Cockerill was pleased with his forwards in the set-piece.

Leicester were not overawed by Northampton's front five and drew penalties from them.

"We do our homework, we do our stuff and we do our training," he added. "We talked all week about how good their scrum was going to be but our scrum was pretty damn good. All the chat was about how good [Brian] Mujati was but [Lugovi'i] Mulipola was fantastic."

Northampton's director of rugby, Jim Mallinder, was proud of the way Northampton fought back, scoring twice after the dismissal of Dylan Hartley.

"The ability of the lads to fight back with 14 men was tremendous, to keep getting back within a score. I'm very, very proud. We're very optimistic about next year.

"We're losing a number of good players but we're also bringing in some very good players. Hopefully the experience of playing in a final like this will stand us in very good stead."