Cockerill confident Goneva will stay
March 24, 2014
Leicester's Niki Goneva tries to make a break against Exeter © Getty Images
Leicester head coach Richard Cockerill says the club are a "long way down the line" to keeping winger Niki Goneva at Welford Road next season.
Goneva, who has scored 11 tries this season, was expected to leave Leicester this summer after an offer from French Top 14 champions Castres. But the Tigers have been fighting to keep their man and Cockerill believes something more than money will be the deciding factor in Goneva's future.
Cockerill said: "Niki is not under contract to anybody next season and, at this point, we are a long way down the line to sorting that out. In the world of recruitment, I never say never until it is written down and the ink is dry - but I am as confident as I can be.
"Niki is a Fijian Test player but he came from Tarbes to this club, and we made a huge effort to get him here.
"We have a good environment and we give him an opportunity to play in these big games. We look after him both mentally and physically but we are not going to match the French financially, none of us are in the Premiership. But not all the glistens is gold. We can offer good coaching and a good environment."
Goneva scored one try and was instrumental in setting up two more as Leicester overran Exeter 45-15 at Welford Road yesterday. Cockerill was keen to praise Goneva's performance: "You saw him out there [against Exeter], he is enjoying himself and he wants to be part of this team because he likes it. For me, there is a huge amount of value in that.
"We are also a big club, let's not get away from that. People want to play for us."
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