sport

Cockerill wants Croft patience

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill called for patience over England flanker Tom Croft after the 28-12 victory against London Welsh.

Croft, who suffered a broken neck against Harlequins last April, was making only his third start since returning to action in Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash at Welford Road.

The 27-year-old was replaced after only 11 minutes of his second game back against Wasps last month but played almost the entire match against Welsh as his side kept up their relentless surge towards the end-of-season play-offs with another victory.

Cockerill is pleased with Croft's recovery but is not expecting too much too soon from the 27-year-old.

"Tom Croft is sharp, he's a quality player, we know his abilities in the loose but he's not played much in eight months but he'll get better," said Cockerill.

"He's got pace and at times we need that to get us out of some sticky moments but its all positive for me but we do need to be patient."

Looking ahead to their table-topping clash with Harlequins, Cockerill added: "We'll take the medical advice on Tom, I know it would have been Harlequins next week but if it's medically right to play him we'll play him.

George Ford kicked 13 points for Leicester against Welsh, with Adam Thompstone scoring a first-half try and Niall Morris and Dan Bowden also touching down for the Tigers after the break. Gordon Ross scored all 12 of the Exiles' points.

Missing the likes of Dan Cole, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling and Martin Castrogiovanni from the Leicester pack, who are all away on Six Nations duty, Cockerill said it was the win and not the performance he craved before kick-off.

"Obviously there are things that we could have done better and could have made things easier for ourselves but it's about winning at the end of the day," he said.

"We got the four points and at the end of the season nobody will care about the weather or the game, it's international week so nobody cares as long as we win."

"Obviously you would like more and potentially the five points but at the start of the day if you'd offered me four points and no significant injuries then I'd have taken it. Welsh are a hard side to play against."

London Welsh boss Lyn Jones felt his side had shot themselves in the foot after a below-par opening 40 minutes.

"We were hugely disappointed with our first-half performance and we were undisciplined and gave far too much away to Leicester," he said.

"Second half we came back into it and came quite close but we didn't get out of the 22 as much as we wanted to.

"We came back strong, put a lot of phases together, played some enterprising rugby but just failed to cross.

"We've got a bunch of lads in there that are giving 100 percent and that's all you can ask for.

"They need to get up to speed with the intensity and accuracy that the game is played in the Premiership.

"I think the first half was our worst half of rugby in the Premiership so far but we came back and showed what we were capable of.

He added: "I think we're ahead of where we want to be at the moment to be honest.

"We're not that far behind Worcester, they could be a target.

"There's everything to play for. The Premiership is never a walk in the park whether you're at the top in the middle or down the bottom."