Cockerill backs Croft for Lions


Leicester coach Richard Cockerill believes Munster’s Alan Quinlan should be replaced in the Lions squad by England backrow Tom Croft if he is found guilty of foul play by an independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday.

Quinlan was cited by the match citing commissioner, John Byett (England), for alleged contact with the eye/eye area of Leinster captain Leo Cullen during the European Cup semi-final at Croke Park last weekend.

The independent disciplinary committee will be chaired by Roger Morris (Wales) and also comprises Simon Thomas (Wales) and Mike Hamlin (England). The law under which Quinlan is to be prosecuted is Law 10.4 (k) – acts contrary to good sportsmanship.

Quinlan faces a minimum 12-week suspension if found guilty, which would leave the door open for a replacement. Cockerill insists, after another brilliant display for Leicester in the Guinness Premiership semi-final yesterday, Croft is the man for the job.

"Croft has been our outstanding player. On form like today, if Quinlan doesn't go on the Lions tour then Croft should be next on list. On form, Croft has got to be a shoo-in. I'd certainly be playing him." Cockerill said after the 24-10 win over Bath.

Leicester will meet London Irish in the final at Twickenham on May 16th, before taking on Leinster in the European Cup final on May 23rd.

"We're going to try to win them,” Cockerill added. “If we play to our best and they are better, fair play to them.

“But if we don't play as well as we can, we will be really disappointed. I think we can do it.

“Whatever happens, we've had a good year."