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Ford impressed by tough Tigers

Mike Ford discusses improved competition for places, pre-season pay offs and praises the toughness of the side following the bonus-point defeat of Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.

The competition for places has intensified from last year ... those guys coming back from the World Cup will have to fight for places

Mike Ford has praised the toughness of the Tigers squad on show during the bonus-point victory over Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.

Speaking post-match, Ford said: “We showed some toughness out there tonight, digging in at the end to defend our line.”

“The forwards fronted up tonight ... they showed a lot of courage.”

The Tigers attack coach was also impressed with control shown by Noel Reid and Kyle Eastmond in their first outing of the new season.

“Noel Reid and Kyle Eastmond controlled the game very well,” he said.

“As well as those two, it was a first game for a lot of the guys tonight, it’s a positive start for them for the new season.”

Ford, who spent his first pre-season with the squad after coming in to the coaching staff at the back-end of last season, was also complimentary of the fitness levels of the group in the 20-point victory.

“Our fitness was great tonight, the work from the pre-season showed,” he said.

Tigers are currently without ten members of the senior squad, including nine away at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, and Ford believes the new recruits and the largest ever intake of Academy graduates has “intensified” competition for places.

“The competition for places has intensified from last year ... those guys coming back from the World Cup will have to fight for places,” Ford said.