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Hardwick: ‘We dug in deep’ for win

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Leicester Tigers inside centre Tom Hardwick credited the squad effort that allowed him to line up a last-minute penalty for the side’s first Gallagher Premiership win of the season on Saturday.

And, after knocking over the crucial three-pointer, the 20-year-old said the defensive effort to keep Gloucester out with the clock well into the red showed the squad’s hunger.

“The boys worked so hard throughout the 80 minutes, and I was quite nervous [lining the kick up],” he said.

“I thought time was up – obviously not – but we dug in afterwards with a great team performance.

“We showed what it means to play for Tigers, and to get a win like that was unbelievable.”

“The boys dug in deep.”

Tigers went in 10-6 up at the break following a first Premiership try from Hardwick’s play-making partner, Noel Reid. The two swapped first-receiver duties throughout the afternoon in what Hardwick described as a ‘fluid’ strategy.

But the inside centre admitted the side knew they would have to keep up the same physical intensity in the second half – especially up front.

“We said that we needed to keep digging in deep,” Hardwick continued. “You’re licking your lips with that front foot ball, and it’s happy days for a fly-half.

“The moves that we used throughout the week that we thought would get Gloucester worked, so the message at half time was to keep going through those shapes, and get Jordan [Olowofela] and Telusa [Veainu] into space.

“We’ve got a squad that’s capable of winning the Premiership, so every time we go out we want to win, and we want to put on a show at Welford Road for our fans.

“There’s obviously loads to improve on – we only won by three points – [but] we won’t step back now, we’ll keep pushing forward to be better.”

Hardwick now faces the prospect of going up against father Rob’s former side in the form of London Irish in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership this Sunday (November 10, 2.30pm).

“I haven’t spoken to him about that yet,” he smiled. “Obviously, if I’m picked, that’ll be a pretty special moment for me. Growing up around Irish, playing against them would be pretty cool.

“We can’t take the foot off the gas now. We don’t want to take a step back so we’ll be on it, straight onto Irish, and get a game plan to target that game.”

Secure your place at Welford Road for seven all-important league games with a Tigers half-season ticket, starting from just £120 for adults and £45 for junior supporters.