Cockerill calls for action after Flood incident
September 5, 2013
Toby Flood was stretchered off in Saturday's game against Ulster © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has called for the game's stakeholders to crack down on dangerous play after Toby Flood was ruled out of their opening game of the season after being knocked out against Ulster at the weekend.
Flood was on the wrong end of a high tackle during the pre-season friendly at Welford Road and was stretchered off the field unconscious. Cockerill, who is currently in the midst of a nine-game ban for using abusive language towards officials in last season's Aviva Premiership final, believes it is those sorts of incidents that will dissuade youngsters from playing the game.
The England fly-half is no stranger to being on the end of monster hits after he was pole axed by Courtney Lawes in last season's final - the incident that led to Cockerill's verbal tirade - and the England boss wants the authorities to do more to protect his players.
"Somebody leading with their elbow and smashing a bloke straight in the face is what they should be concerned about rather than being worried about people saying naughty words," Cockerill told the Telegraph. "It is these sort of things that will stop little Johnny coming to mini-rugby on a Sunday morning. Once again, our playmaker has been hit and we have lost him from the game. It is illegal. You would expect the powers-that-be to have a look at that."
Flood was forced to spend the night in hospital following Dan Tuohy's challenge and Leicester have ruled him out of their opener against Worcester on Sunday but are hopeful he will be back sooner rather than later. Cockerill added: "You can't be too careful when there are potentially serious consequences with an injury.
"At Leicester we will always take the cautious, conservative view. It is disappointing to lose Toby but his long-term health is far more important than any short-term considerations. The scans are clear but there will still be protocols to go through. We would hope to reintegrate him next week with the chance of playing against Bath but certainly against Newcastle the following week."
Leicester are also expected to be without British & Irish Lions duo Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs for the opener and Cockerill was less than impressed with the treatment the pair received while on duty Down Under.
"We are still looking after Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi after they came back from the Lions tour with injuries," Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury. "They played in Test matches and midweek matches when they were not really fit to play.
"They have come back with shoulder issues. I am hoping they will be fit for this weekend but at this point, I don't know. It's obviously very frustrating."
Toby Flood was knocked out in the Premiership final © PA Photos
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