Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Cockerill in hot water, but have RFU got the timings wrong?

Richard Cockerill has been charged by the RFU after his tete-a-tete with 4th official Stuart Terheege during the Aviva Premiership final. 

If you read any message board anywhere on earth you might think that he is a serial offender and needs to be made an example of, yet nothing could be further from the truth.  Since making his first team debut for Coventry in 1991 Cockerill has an exemplary disciplinary record, during his 14 year playing career he was never sent off and never received a ban.  Think Dan Cole rather than Julian White.

During his 8 year coaching career Cockerill has only been reprimanded once and that was 3 and half years ago. 

And during that judgement they freely admitted had his language been tamer there would have been no complaint.

I await with baited breath the RFU’s disciplinary report to see if Cockerill’s language was as colourful as last time, when referee Tim Wigglesworth was called “fucking shit”, the whole refereeing team was described as “a bunch of useless cunts” and Robin Goodliffe was called a “Twat”. 

Cockerill has a habit of riling up the self righteous and moralistic press from the right wing broadsheets.  Messers Ackford and Moore, both part of the Harlequins team caught using illegal studs to inflict greater damage when stamping on Orrell players in the 1992 Pilkington Cup, seem to particularly delight in pouring their bile into the ear’s of the RFU’s old farts over their corn flakes.  Moore was also banned for 2 months for stamping on Sale lock Dave Baldwin in 1997.

As if Brian Moore has never used that language to describe someone who has annoyed him.  Unlike most of these smug media commentators Cockerill is a painfully honest bloke.  He doesn’t hide behind a column in the press he goes and out and actually tests his ideas on the game, and usually he is proven right. 

Let’s remember the context of this complaint: An illegal late tackle had forced off our captain and main play maker.  Cockerill has every right to complain to the 4th official, this is only a dispute over the words he used to do that. 

It is still unclear at this point whether Northampton’s Dorian West, Cockerill’s former rival for the Tigers’ hooking berth, has generated this hearing with the formal complaint he said he was going to make or whether this has been brought about by the match reports from the 4th Official and the Referee’s assessor Ed Morrison. 

According to the RFU’s own regulations, dated August 2012, any citing should be with the RFU head of discipline within 24 hours of the conclusion of the match.  This rule is deliberately designed to stop the RFU over reacting to a media orchestrated frenzy, yet it seems to have been ignored willy-nilly. 

Cockerill’s charge was only announced on Monday, a full 9 DAYS after the event.  If the RFU Head of Discipline did receive this from the citing officer before 5pm on Sunday May 26, what was he doing and how did nobody find out until Monday 3rd of June? 

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