I refuse to be silenced on referees - Leicester Tigers' boss Cockerill
Richard Cockerill is refusing to be silenced after criticising refereeing standards in the Aviva Premiership.
The Leicester Tigers director of rugby, along with much of his coaching and playing staff, were bitterly frustrated by the officiating of referee Wayne Barnes in the defeat by Harlequins last Saturday.
Leicester lost the game 25-21 – and the penalty count 15-6.
Cockerill has since been criticised in some quarters for voicing his opinions in public, instead of expressing them solely through the 'correct channels'.
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But he said that the days when referees were always right are now "long gone" in the professional era and that he will continue to make public comment on the standards of refereeing because it is the "only way to get change".
Tigers have sent a report to the referees' department at the Rugby Union (RFU) outlining the problems they saw in the game at The Stoop.
"I can take getting penalised 15 times at Quins, I just want the opposition to be penalised for the same things," said Cockerill.
"I don't want any favours. All referees bring different interpretations and that is no problem for me. Just referee it the same for both teams, please.
"I get plenty of criticism for talking about it, but why should we ignore it?
"It was a four-point ball game and the penalty count was more than double against us.
"My main concern was that the other side were doing the same things and not getting penalised for them.
"We have sent those clips to Ed Morrision (head of the RFU's Elite Referees Development) and I am not going to let that lie.
"If we get beaten by the better side and the referee was mainly right, I wouldn't complain. But when they are not right, I have every right to air those opinions.
"If you go through the right channels and things don't change, you are forced to discuss them in public. How else can you get change?
"These are massive games. My job is to represent Leicester and things that are important to Leicester.
"There were issues in the Grand Final with that referee and how it was refereed then – issues that the Elite Refereeing Department agreed with after the game.
"There were similar issues on Saturday. Am I just to ignore that just because he is a referee?
"Well I am not going to sit here and be quiet because that keeps the status quo."
Other coaches have not been shy in coming forward to criticise referees this season.
Last month, Quins' Conor O'Shea said he was "incensed" with the referee after his side's win over London Welsh. He added that he may "give up" going through the correct channels because he had been "feeding stuff in and it's not being listened to or acted on".
"I asked to have a conference call with Wayne Barnes so we can discuss some of our issues," said Cockerill. "Coaches and referees have to work together because this is a professional era. I am not always wrong because I am the coach and they are certainly not always right because they are referees."