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Rugby News

Home defeat is missed chance says Matt

Matt O’Connor says defeat at home to Northampton Saints on Saturday was “an opportunity lost” in the push for play-off places at the end of the Aviva Premiership season.

Tigers slipped from third to fifth place in the table after a 21-27 defeat by Northampton Saints at a sell-out Welford Road. They are now two points and one place outside the top four with games against Newcastle Falcons at home and Sale Sharks away to come in the season.

“It was all there for us. We were very keen to put out a performance at home and we did some good things, but we didn’t execute on them when we had the moments,” said O’Connor.

“It’s an opportunity lost. We had everything to play for, we needed the points but we weren’t good enough to get the win.

“We turned over ball too much. We thought we’d addressed it at half-time but there were 26 turnovers and you cannot do that at this level. We were penalised six times with the ball which is hard and that impacted a lot on our continuity.”

Saints held a 10-point lead before tries from Telusa Veainu and Matt Toomua put Tigers in front for the first – and only time – at 12-10 on the half-hour mark. Tries either side of half-time then swing the balance of play back in the visitors’ favour, though Tigers thought wing Jonah Holmes had provided a priceless score in the closing stages only for referee Matthew Carley to decide there had been an obstruction in the build-up.

“We thought if we got it right in the first 20 minutes that would prepare the way,” said O’Connor. “But with a lack of execution we didn’t get scoreboard pressure there.

“We had a lot of intent and energy in the first half but did not have that level of composure and execution you need. They got a couple of opportunities, they got in front and stayed in front.”

Aviva Premiership action resumes with Tigers hosting fourth-placed Newcastle Falcons in the final home game of the season on Friday, April 27 (7.45pm). Tickets are on sale now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 or online.