Calum Green paid tribute to the fight shown by his Leicester Tigers team-mates in Derby Day victory over Northampton Saints on Sunday.
Welford Road played host to the 245th meeting of the two rugby giants in Round 20 of this season’s Gallagher Premiership, with Green and Co ending a streak of three East Midlands Derby wins for the ‘noisy neighbours’.
And the hard-fought 28-24 scoreline was testament to the grit shown by a tough Tigers team, according to lock Green.
“We knew that on Derby Day they were always going to stay in the fight,” he said. “We started well, but our discipline probably let them back in a little bit.
“We kept at it and even though we made some mistakes, we came good in the end and that’s the main thing.”
“No matter what happens, we keep going.”Calum Green
The match marked a second Premiership win under head coach Steve Borthwick, after dispatching London Irish on the same ground in Round 16.
Green continued: “Going back to what Steve said in our very first meeting, we know we will make mistakes, but it’s about hard work.
“We never want a team to come here and out-work us. We have to have that mindset in everything we do and, no matter what happens, we keep going. We keep plugging away.
“No matter what the score is, or what the ref is doing, we have to keep going for the full 80.
“We have to work incredibly hard every match. If we can do that, we've got a good enough team to compete with anyone.”
And with starring performances for young men like Tigers Academy graduate Freddie Steward and summer signing Zack Henry in recent weeks – the pair scoring all but five of Tigers’ points on the weekend – Green remained confident for the challenges ahead.
“Through this period we’ve been able to give plenty of those young boys a chance,” he added.
“Freddie Steward has come through really well, and he’s a Norfolk boy like myself so I like to see that.
“Zack Henry has come in, Harry Potter has come in, and if we can give these guys as much experience now then it’s going to stand us in good stead moving forward.
“When you see boys coming through like that it gives us – dare I say it – ‘older’ guys a bit of a kick up the backside.”