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Defensive improvement is key for Cockerill

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After five tries in victory over Lyon on Saturday, Richard Cockerill says he was just as pleased to see a strong defensive performance.

Scott Hamilton (2), James Grindal, Anthony Allen and Thomas Waldrom claimed the scores in a 38-3 pre-season victory, but director of rugby Cockerill says there is lot for the squad to take out of the game at both ends of the pitch.

“It’s a good win,” he said. “The attitude of the team was great. It’s easy to concede sloppy tries in friendlies but the goal for us was not to concede because we were poor defensively against Montpelier in our first pre-season game.

“Lyon put us under pressure at times but we did well in defence and came through it.

“We looked a bit rusty against Montpelier and at times today we made mistakes, but that is part of the trial process at this stage. We scored some nice tries. There’s lots of stuff there to look at next week.”

Summer signings Mathew Tait, Kieran Brookes, Julian Salvi, Niall Morris, Micky Young and Richard de Carpentier all made their first appearance in Tigers colours at Welford Road with the opening-day game against Exeter Chiefs just two weeks away.

“We’re moving forward which is the important thing and there were no injuries,” added Cockerill.

“Some of those guys have not played at Welford Road before so they’ll be pleased to get the game under their belts.

“Mathew Tait has been out for a while and that was his second game back, Niall Morris got game-time in, we’ve got Steve Mafi back, it was good to have the guys back in and working on those combinations.

“Preparation has been pretty good and we’ve got another game at Nottingham on Friday before we go into the new season."