Steve Borthwick believes the Tigers squad, staff and supporters will not be distracted by off-field matters as the club prepares to welcome Newcastle Falcons to Leicester on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking in the build-up to the opening game of the New Year, the Tigers Head Coach said: “We have had a lot of challenges thrown at us this season.
“It just makes us stronger than anyone thinks we can be. My expectation of players and staff is to continue to work hard, continue to learn and come out stronger.”
Pressed on the impact on fans from “outside noise”, Borthwick added: “I’m sure they are disappointed with the headlines.
“This club went from being the leading club in the country to bottom of the pile. But this team, together with our fans, is climbing back up with their help and support.
“They know this is historic, they know it doesn’t involve this group and, as I have before, this group of supporters are the most passionate I have ever experienced.
“Even when they weren’t in the stands, during my first year here, the support was incredible from home.
“Now that they are back, everybody has seen what they bring to a game day at Mattioli Woods Welford Road and on the road for away games.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s match, Borthwick pointed towards more challenges faced by the group which will need to be overcome.
“We are being challenged in many ways; players injured, suspended and it means we have had to make changes we might not have otherwise,” said Borthwick.
“What this team has shown all season is that they will fight, whatever the challenge, and give everything on the field.
“That expectation does not change because of a few more things coming our way, on and off the field, it stays the same.”
Speaking about Sunday’s opponents, he added: “Newcastle are a really tough team, led by one of the league’s most experienced coaches in Dean Richards who will have his side ready after two weekends without a match.
“They play smart rugby, the Falcons scrum is one of the very best in the Premiership, their pack makes everything a battle and possess players out-wide with skill and pace.”
See the Leicester Tigers matchday squad to face Newcastle Falcons HERE.