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Holmes ‘proud’ to be part of hard-grafting Tigers

Holmes and Co return to Welford Road on the back of an impressive display at Bath.
Holmes and Co return to Welford Road on the back of an impressive display at Bath.

Effort, effort and more effort – that was Leicester Tigers wing Jonah Holmes’ highlight of an impressive win away to Bath in Round 3 of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

First-half scores from Tommy Reffell and Ben White put Tigers 15-0 going into the break at The Rec, but they had to dig deep to weather a sustained Bath attack in the second half.

“We’re obviously very happy,” Holmes said. “The effort was outstanding, and we’ve set a bar for the weeks to come.

“You can’t ask much more than that.

“It’s still early days, so hopefully we can hold onto it [and] we know we’ve got to sharpen up on some other areas, but it’s coming together.”

An early intercept in the second half gave the home side hope, but despite a red card for Tigers hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, the visitors held strong to secure victory.

“You saw the [effort],” Holmes added, when asked how the squad responded to going down to 14 men for the final half hour. “When that happens you’ve just got to work harder. I guess that goes to show that we had another gear to go up.

“We didn’t stop, did we? We’ve got processes in place, and we talked about it – like every team should talk about it – because these things happen.

“We’re confident in the system we’ve got in place, and a lot of defence is based on effort. I’ll keep saying it, [because] the boys put in the effort the whole time at every single set-piece, every single phase-play.

“There were a lot of boys cramping out there, so it shows how much running we were doing.

“We put the graft into the game and we got it.”

For Holmes, who worked his way back from a leg injury over the summer as part of Wales’ wider Rugby World Cup training squad, two Cup wins in a row have helped ease his transition back to club life.

He continued: “Of course, it’s disappointing not to get selected for the [Wales] squad, but the silver lining for me was that I got to come back here and see all the changes that have happened over the summer.

“I’ve noticed the mentality is very different. The pressure is on everyone to perform, and the effort [today] was outstanding. I can’t fault that.

“I’ve been involved in two games now, and I’m really proud to be part of this team. I’m glad to be back.”

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