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Now we're playing for real, warns Cockerill

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Richard Cockerill described himself as "pretty pleased" with the Leicester Tigers pre-season but warned that everyone is "playing for keeps" when league action begins next weekend.

Tigers recorded a 42-38 victory over the Ospreys at Welford Road on Friday in the final outing of the summer, following a 26-21 defeat away to the Welsh outfit and a 33-10 triumph in Treviso.
Adam Thompstone (2), Peter Betham, Ed Slater, Dom Barrow and Luke Hamilton scored for Tigers as the sides shared 12 tries in front of a Bank Holiday weekend crowd at Welford Road.
“It was a good game, there was some really good attacking play, some really good set-piece, but we were just a bit sloppy without the ball,” said director of rugby Cockerill. “It was the same for both sides and it ended up in a bit of a try-fest.
“There were some really good parts and some parts we obviously need to work on. We just need to make sure we put it all together.
“There are lots of things to be pleased with. Next week, though, it is for keeps, the pressure will be different, and we clearly need to get better in some parts.”
Cockerill had special praise for Sam Harrison who moved from scrum-half to fly-half in the absence of Owen Williams, Freddie Burns and Oli Bryant.
“It just shows how much he cares for what he does,” said Cockerill. “He played exceptionally well, he kicked all his goals and showed what a good player he is. He did a fantastic job.
“Freddie and Owen have had minor knocks, Oli Bryant got a bang on the knee in Treviso and young Tom Hardwick is in Japan on a schools tour, so we were a bit short there, but I’m delighted for Sam.”
Tigers gave a first outing of pre-season to England internationals Ben Youngs and Dan Cole as second-half replacements, while Dom Barrow, Mathew Tait and Telusa Veainu also returned to match action.

South Africa wing JP Pietersen earned a very warm reception from the crowd on his first appearance for the club.
“JP is world class and he is only just finished a season in the southern hemisphere so he is not short of match fitness,” said Cockerill. “Getting a yellow card after six minutes, though, might be a record even for Leicester!”
Irish wing Mick McGrath, who is on trial at Leicester after being released by Leinster, also earned an opportunity in the closing stages of the game.
“Mick has a good try-scoring record in Irish rugby and as we’ve seen with guys like Geordan and Johne Murphy, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, Niall Morris and others that there are sometimes opportunities for those Irish guys elsewhere. He has come to see if he has an opportunity here.”
Tigers kick off their Aviva Premiership campaign with a trip to Gloucester on Friday before opening the home programme against Wasps on Saturday, September 10. Tickets are available now and the day will also include the annual Tigers In The Park with activities for all the family  from 11am right up to kick-off. This year’s Tigers In The Park has a Rio Carnival theme. Click here for more details.

Book match tickets in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online.