Geordan Murphy hopes a hard-fought win in Italy is part of the learning experience for members of the Leicester Tigers squad.
The Tigers head coach set out to use the European Challenge Cup as an opportunity to develop the depth of his squad and has managed to do while winning all four of the opening rounds to top the pool on 18 points.
“We’ve got to learn to win on the road and this was a tough place to come,” said Murphy following a 20-13 victory against Calvisano on Saturday which was secured following first tries for the club by teenager Freddie Steward and summer signing Nephi Leatigaga alongside one from Andy Forsyth.
“It is all part of learning. It was a pretty poor game but we stuck at it and we got the win. Some of the players have not been in this kind of situation before and they can all learn something from it.
“We knew it was going to be difficult with the conditions and the pitch. Calvisano have a big pack and you have to give them full credit for the way they took the pace out of the game. We couldn’t get any tempo into it and I thought they did a really good job. It was 5-3, 8-3 for a huge chunk of the game.
“But we turned over ball too much as well. We gave away a lot of penalties and that is sure to hurt you.”
The victory means Tigers have a five-point lead over second-placed Cardiff Blues in Pool 5 ahead of their visit to Welford Road in January, and there was a further positive in the return from injury of Will Spencer, Greg Bateman and Jordan Taufua as second-half replacements in Italy.
“It was good to see them all out there again and in the frame for next week,” said Murphy, looking ahead to the Gallagher Premiership fixture at home to Exeter Chiefs this Saturday.
“We looked at this tournament as an opportunity to grow the squad. To come here in tough circumstances against a tough side and grind out the win is good for us.”
Tigers against Chiefs is a 3.00pm kick-off at Welford Road on Saturday and tickets are available now.