Cockerill happy as Flood sinks Ospreys
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill hailed a virtuoso match-winning display by Toby Flood after the England star revived Tigers' Heineken Cup campaign,
Flood scored 24 points, including an interception try, as Leicester staged a storming finish to beat Welford Road visitors the Ospreys 39-22 in bonus point fashion. After last weekend's defeat in Toulouse, it was just what the Tigers needed to keep themselves in Pool Two contention.
"I think Toby gets a lot of unfair criticism," Cockerill said. "He's played 50-odd Tests for England. He is a really good player."
Fly-half Flood complemented his try with five penalties - including one from well inside his own half - and two conversions, while centre Manu Tuilagi (2) and scrum-half Ben Youngs added further touchdowns.
"We knew if we got the basics right we would be there or thereabouts," Flood said. "We feel we have the fitness and ability to hurt teams in the last 20 minutes. That is the mentality we've got. The pool is very much open and there is still a good chance we can hit the last two games in January in a positive manner knowing very much what we need to do."
Flood apart, Youngs was also at the heart of Leicester's performance, his contribution coming just a week after his snap decision to run a penalty backfired and gave Toulouse priceless momentum as they posted a 23-9 success.
And Cockerill added: "It was the result we needed. The attitude of the players was outstanding. They wanted to play and work as hard as they could to get the result. At 10-0 down we kept our composure really well and played ourselves back into it. Ospreys started very strongly, but we got back into it and the tide started to turn."
It was rough luck on Dan Biggar for conceding the Flood try, as he also made a high-class contribution with 17 points that included the conversion of flanker Ryan Jones' early try. But Leicester secured an unlikely bonus point triumph with a blistering onslaught of 20 points in the last 18 minutes to leave the Ospreys shell-shocked.
Youngs, a thorn in the Ospreys' side all afternoon, continued to cajole his team-mates, and he inspired the late flourish by sprinting over for a try after Tigers' attackers made the most of a kind bounce.
And there was worse to come for the Ospreys with the last play of a gripping encounter when flanker Steve Mafi was held up short, but Tuilagi gathered possession and gleefully dived over to send a 20,000 crowd wild.