“After two losses, we wanted to get back on track,” said second row Deacon, captain in the absence of Martin Corry. “Now we go into the new year on the back of a win and we can look forward to the next stage of the season.
“I think everybody who came into the side fronted up well. Guys who had not had much opportunity of late stepped up and gave Marcelo and Richard Cockerill something to think about.
“It seems every time we change the team the guys that get that opportunity just step up and produce the goods. Guys like Brett, Christophe Laussucq and Ian Humphreys came in and did well. It is a very competitive squad and you know you have to play well.
“When you get your chance, you have to put your hand up and take it to get picked the following week.”
First-half scores from backs Sam Vesty and Seru Rabeni gave Tigers a 15-11 lead at the interval, which they stretched to 25-17 with second-half scores from props Martin Castrogiovanni and Julian White.
“We started well then had a 20 minute spell when we went a bit quiet,” said skipper Deacon. “We also started well in the second half but then we let them back into it with silly penalties and we never managed to get away from them.
“But the guys stuck at it and it was good to get the bonus point too. Sometimes you can get a bit frantic and try to force things when you have scored three tries, but I think we played in the right areas of the field and we got the fourth score from Whitey.
“We had them on the ropes and I thought we were edging towards a penalty try, then Christophe picked up and went for the line. He didn’t quite make it but then Julian managed to get himself over.”