Tom Croft says it was important that the performance in last Friday’s pre-season opener against the Ospreys “set a benchmark” for the Leicester Tigers squad in the build-up to the new campaign.
Tigers claimed a 21-14 victory in Wales with tries from new signing Jonah Holmes and front-rowers Harry Thacker and Jake Kerr to set the ball rolling on their pre-season programme.
International flanker Croft led a side including a number of debutants and was pleased with what he saw.
“Off the back of six hard weeks in pre-season, it was nice to have a game to aim towards,” Croft said.
“There were some of the younger guys and some who have not played for the club before so it was easy to get fired up for the game. The boys were excited and we started really well. There was a bit of a drop-off perhaps in some areas and some mistakes, but there are a lot of positives.
"We have talked about setting a benchmark for the coming weeks for the guys and I think the boys did that . There are things to work on and places to pick up but it was a pleasing start.”
Tigers took a 14-0 lead before the hosts fought back to level the scores before half-time, and the try from hooker Kerr at a lineout drive provided the only points of the second period.
“It was a good contest,” said Croft. “Credit to Ospreys for coming back from two tries down.
“The result doesn’t really matter so much in pre-season but it is about building momentum going into that first game with Bath.
“It was good to get to use the stuff we’ve been working on in training and testing it in a match. There were a lot of areas that worked as we wanted on the training field.
“I thought Joe Ford and Ben White were exceptional at half-back, there were some good skills from the backs in testing conditions and the forwards rolled their sleeves up and fronted up.
“It’s a good start, that’s all it is. Now we want to carry on and build on that.”
Tigers host Italian visitors Benetton Treviso at Welford Road on Friday in the second match of the pre-season period. Kick-off is at 7.45pm and match tickets are available now. This fixture is included in Tigers season tickets.