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Rookies earn rave reviews

Cockerill lauds young Tigers Pienaar, Hemingway and Green

Last updated: 21st March 2009   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Rookies earn rave reviews

Pienaar: Acclaimed

It's a vindication of the young lads we have here that against a good side Ben Pienaar, Dan Hemingway and Calum Green weren't fazed by it.

Richard Cockerill
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Leicester's youngsters were singled out for special praise by acting head coach Richard Cockerill after the 46-16 rout of Saracens on Saturday.

The Tigers were without 16 players at Welford Road because of injuries and international commitments and lost scrum-half Julien Dupuy and flanker Ben Herring to first-half injuries.

But rookies Ben Pienaar, Dan Hemingway and debutant Calum Green stepped into the breach with real aplomb.

Unfazed

Cockerill said: "I would have liked us to be a bit more clinical in the first-half. But we built our pressure and took our chances in the end, so all in all I'm very happy.

"We have got some young lads out there - Ben Pienaar, Dan Hemingway and Calum Green - who could have been playing for the academy today.

"I'm very happy with the squad we have got and the effort we put in. It's a good win for us and keeps our momentum going. It just shows that if you believe in the people you are picking, you work hard with them and you don't worry about their inexperience then they will 'front up' and play.

"I'm delighted for them. It's a vindication of the young lads we have here that against a good side Ben Pienaar, Dan Hemingway and Calum Green weren't fazed by it."

Difficulties

The result was Leicester's fifth successive triumph and with the international contingent set to return, ahead of Friday's trip to Newcastle, Cockerill faces a real dilemma with selection.

"The guys that have played here have done well, but we have got to be realistic," added the coach.

"We have to pick what's best. If the Test players come back and they are fresh and on form they will be considered for selection.

"The reason they are international picks is because they are good players, so some of them will come into the side and some will come on to the bench."

Saracens' coaching co-ordinator Richard Graham refused to blame his side's defeat on the absence of 18 players to injury and international calls, meanwhile.

"We were no different to Leicester, who were without 16 or 17 players," Graham said. "At this stage of the season, everyone goes through it.

"We conceded 26 points in the last five minutes of the first half and the last five minutes of the second half.

"We also slipped off too many tackles and turned over set-piece possession. When that happens you are not going to win games."

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