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Four wins put Tigers right back in the mix

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Richard Cockerill says four wins during the Six Nations period was "just what we wanted" as Leicester Tigers moved level on points with third place in the Aviva Premiership table.

Tigers came from 13-9 down just before half-time to win 41-18 against Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Sunday and moved on to 49 points from 16 rounds of league action.

Following victories over Worcester, Gloucester and London Irish, Cockerill’s team concluded their league programme during the Six Nations period with a cleansweep of four wins.

“We got exactly what we wanted out of the game,” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill.

“Newcastle played well and put us under pressure, but thankfully our composure and skill-set saw us through in the end. Sides have come here and struggled to get wins and bonus points, but our attitude was great, we didn’t panic and we knew if we could get in the right areas we would get the points.

“Niki Goneva scored a very well-taken try just before half-time and the two penalties from Owen Williams just after half-time were very important – they gave us that bit of breathing space and when they scored we were still a couple of points in front.

“We said four weeks ago we wanted four wins in this period and we’ve just about done it. Perhaps at times we’ve not deserved it, and it’s not always been pretty, but we’ve got those points and we’ve worked hard for them.

“The players have responded very well and they are the ones on the field going out and doing it.

“People criticise how we’ve been playing but we’re right in the middle of that group at the top of the table now. We’ll have a couple of weeks away from it now and come back and try to keep that momentum going for the run-in.”

Tigers welcomed back Manu Tuilagi after five months out with a chest muscle injury and he made only his second appearance of the season on Sunday, playing until a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on ended his afternoon in the 70th minute.

“It’s great to have him back,” said Cockerill. “Physically he was pretty good. He was a bit rusty but you saw the threat at times and that will come with playing.”

Tigers’ next fixture is in Round 17 against Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road on Sunday, March 23. Kick-off is at 2pm and tickets are available now. Book at the ticket office or online. Matchday hospitality places are also still available – phone the sales team on 0116 2171 215 for more details.