Rugby Union

Dan Cole scored a crucial try for Leicester.

Richard Cockerill hails Leicester matchwinner Dan Cole

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Richard Cockerill hailed England prop Dan Cole for his winning try and all round performance in Leicester Tigers' 21-11 Aviva Premiership home win over Bath.

Cole's 74th minute try - only his second in six and a half years - clinched an improbable victory for Leicester who had been outplayed for much of the match.

The try, a scruffy one given by the TMO after a driving line-out, clinched victory and lifted Leicester two places to third.

Cockerill, Leicester's director of rugby, praised Cole, saying: "I don't think he realises he scored it.

"We dropped the ball, they scraped it back and Coley decided to put his hand on it.

"It was a pivotal point in the match. Coley is a great player. There were some marginal decisions that went against us but he stuck at it and had a great game."

Cockerill believes Cole, 28, can still be England's tight head at the next World Cup.

He said: "He probably came back from the World Cup with a dent to his confidence.

"He's had a bit of criticism but there's always speed bumps along the way in life. But Leicester is the place to come back to. We just got on with it and the lads took the mickey out of him.

"Coley is back among friends. He's a man of few words who likes to work his way through it in his own way and he has done that very well.

"Coley is not that old, he's got a lot of rugby left in him. He has been the standard at tight head for four or five years. There are young guys coming through but he will get better as time goes on."

Cockerill said Leicester's guts earned them their 178th win out of 210 home Premiership matches.

He said: "I am delighted for the players that they found a way to win because we played pretty poorly at times. But our guts, attitude and trust got us over the finishing line."

Leicester outscored Bath two tries to one, Tonga winger Telusa Veainu's 35th minute interception try ensuring the Tigers turned round 11-15 up.

Fly-half Tommy Bell kicked 11 points while full-back Anthony Watson scored Bath's try with George Ford kicking two penalties.

Bath director of rugby Mike Ford said his side should have kicked a late penalty to get a losing bonus point instead of going for a try.

And he said they paid the price for not being clinical, mistakes costing them the chance to end their Welford Road hoodoo. Their one win in 20 Premiership games came 12 years ago to the day, in 2003.

Ford said: "We will analyse it on Monday but the call was to go for goal.

"We are better than we showed today. I was disappointed to go in at half time losing. We were the better side and the interception was a turning point.

"We got back to 11-11 and had some great possession, position and opportunities to take the game by the scruff of the neck. We never took them."

Cockerill believes England scrum-half Ben Youngs will stay at Leicester despite reported overtures from Bath He said: They might be interested in him.... His dad played for this club, his brother plays for this club. Our discussions have been positive.

"He wants to see how the club is building. (Head coach) Aaron (Mauger) coming in is vital and there will be other players coming in. We want Ben to stay."

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