Round-up: RFU must educate referees about scrums, says Cockerill

 

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The Independent Online

Richard Cockerill, the Leicester director of rugby, has called on the Rugby Football Union to provide "better educated" referees after Saturday's opponents Gloucester escaped with only one player sent to the sin bin for offences at the scrum, where Leicester were completely dominant.

"I am lost for words," Cockerill said of referee Andrew Small's decision to show only tight-head prop Shaun Knight the yellow card during the 17-12 win for the Tigers. "I have spent 30 years in the middle of scrums. I coach it every day. We try to be really professional and then we have to deal with that.

"It's just not good enough," Cockerill added. "It has got to end, enough is enough. He [Small] needs to look at it and see his faults and try to improve. That's the whole point of coaching, whether you are a referee or a rugby coach. They need to educate them and Ed Morrison and Rob Andrew [RFU professional rugby director] need to make sure they do that. And if they don't do it right they don't get a game, same as our blokes.

"Today's points [for the win] are great, you have to win these games. If you get beaten I don't mind, but I want the rugby to decide, not the bloke in the middle making poor decisions."

The Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young, has revealed that he told his men to "muscle up" at half-time against London Welsh, which inspired a 34-14 win. "The big two messages at half-time was I asked them to be accurate in both attack and defence and muscle up. I felt that if we could do that, then we had the X-factor and the added quality that would win us the game," he said. "But that quality can only win you the game if you underpin it with accuracy and work ethic. It was an honest appraisal of where we were in the first half. It was not kicking over of glasses or anything because that doesn't get you anywhere. It was certainly that everyone knew that you cannot come here expecting it to happen – you have to make it happen."

Rob Baxter, the Exeter head coach, felt disappointed to end 2012 with a 12-12 draw at home to Bath, after the replacement fly-half Tom Heathcote converted a late penalty. "Whenever a team peg you back that late in the game, specifically when you have quite good control of things, it feels tough," he explained.

"I don't think we played well enough in the first half and I don't think our forwards were right on the money."

Bath's first-team coach, Brad Davis, who is understood to be weighing up his future at the Rec, was absent from the touchline, missing his third game in a row. Toby Booth, another of the coaching team, said: "As far as we understand things, he is coming back and we have just carried on coaching and leave the upper management to deal with that. As far as we are aware he is coming back and it is just a question of when."

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell may miss some or all of the Six Nations championship after Munster said he would undergo surgery on the back injury that has blighted his season.

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