Cockerill is much safer than his French rivals
Jean-Pierre Elissalde didn't stand a chance, but Richard Cockerill does.
In the increasingly volatile world of club coaching, Leicester is not the worst place to be – nor is England as a whole, for that matter.
Setback: Leicester coach Richard Cockerill
Elissalde was sacked by Bayonne this week, having been in charge at the Basque club for all of a month-and-a-half.
He was appointed in early December after the dismissal of Christian Gajan and his entire coaching staff, as an influx of overseas stars including Wales scrum-half Mike Phillips had not had the desired effect in producing an immediate assault on the Top 14 title.
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Last Friday, Leicester suffered their worst defeat in 15 seasons of Heineken Cup rugby – going down 41-7 against Ulster at Ravenhill.
Asked afterwards what the 'repercussions' might be, Cockerill's reaction suggested that he interpreted it as a question about his own future. It was not, but his tense mood was understandable following Newcastle's removal of head coach Alan Tait the previous day.
Yet Tait was clearly struggling, whereas Cockerill is not. Prior to the heavy loss in Belfast, the Tigers had won 11 out of 12 games.
This was a stark and alarming setback, but not a reason for upheaval.
This week, Cockerill defended his record, pointing to Leicester reaching four finals during his three years in charge.
Yet, his willingness to take guidance from an experienced figure such as Graham Henry is an indication that he understands the need to learn and develop further.
The Tigers hierarchy are not about to sack him.
As a whole, there is less volatility in the English game than in French rugby, where the arrival of so many super-rich owners has coincided with a more cut-throat approach to hiring and firing, more akin to football in this country.
As yet, there has been nothing here to match the bloodlust and bedlam at Blackburn Rovers FC, where angry, banner-waving, bilespewing protests go on and manager Steve Kean has to go out with a personal security guard.
The notion of Cockerill needing a minder to wander the streets of Leicester is quite amusing. Woe betide anyone who shouts abuse in his direction.
In domestic rugby, disgruntled fans don't protest, they just stop turning up – as Newcastle have found, with attendances dipping below 4,000.
That is a concern, but there is not yet extreme menace from the stands or from the boardroom.
If that is what comes with more money, then maybe tightened belts aren't such a bad thing after all.
A Glasgow Chris
Glasgow have taken the unusual step of releasing a statement about their own rejection. The Warriors had been in talks with Castres captain and former All Black Chris Masoe (right) over a move to Scotland. But after a visit to Scotstoun Stadium, the 32-year-old decided that it wasn't for him.
Remarkably, his decision appears to have been taken as a positive development worth sharing, as the statement quoted Masoe as saying: 'Although I'm not going to be joining the Warriors, I'd like to make a point of putting on record how impressed I've been with the club.'
The episode shows that Glasgow need to focus on retaining their own talent, as pedigree overseas players are not being enticed.
Owen faces Gavin 'treatment'
There is an increasingly obvious correlation between the profile of a player and the array of odds offered by bookmakers about their on-field exploits and off-field issues. Take Gavin Henson.
This week, prior to his call-up to Wales's squad for the RBS Six Nations, Ladbrokes were offering 400-1 that the 'part-time celebrity' and full-time Blues back would help his country win the championship and get married this year. In the past, odds have been offered on the exact hue of his fake tan. Saracens are evidently keen for Owen Farrell to avoid such unwanted attention ahead of his impending England debut.
Amid increasing scrutiny of the 20-year-old fly-half-cum-centre, his club's director of rugby, Mark McCall, has asked media to say less, ask less and write less about him. The request came with a smile, but the sentiment was clear. Unfortunately, McCall is fighting a losing battle while Farrell's kicking keeps winning matches.
RFU are ready
A gilt-edged chance to enhance rugby participation will come after the home World Cup in 2015 – and this time the RFU are determined to be ready. The authorities were caught cold after England's triumph in 2003 and as Steve Grainger, RFU development director, said: 'If facilities are not adequate or there's not enough coaching, we've lost the moment.'
The last word
Donal Courtney, the former Irish referee who now acts as ERC's match officials performance manager, has been talking about the language barrier.
Clubs and countries for whom English is not the first language regularly feel aggrieved at the way decisions appear to go against them, partly because – in many cases – they are not receiving instructions which they can fully understand. Courtney remarked that younger referees, such as the RFU's Greg Garner and JP Doyle, speak very good French and that is a positive development.
He revealed that there is a programme in place to assist the learning of key technical phrases in French and Italian, but as yet it is not compulsory for British, Irish or SAN ZAR officials to be able to converse in these languages with any fluency.
That is something the IRB should make an urgent priority. In the professional game, the playing field should be as level as possible, so multi-lingual referees should be regarded as a necessity, not a bonus.