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Rugby News

O'Connor hails defensive effort

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Matt O’Connor praised the defensive intensity of his Leicester Tigers players after the Aviva Premiership victory over Exeter Chiefs.

Tigers made 164 tackles to lay the foundations for the 20-13 win at Welford Road against the defending champions.

And Tigers head coach O’Connor said was delighted with the commitment of his players as they made it three successive wins in league competition.

O’Connor said: “The intensity in defence was really important because they carry the ball a lot. They build phases at you. So from that perspective you have to give a bit back when they are carrying the ball into you. I think we did really well there.

“They had a lot of ball, they carried a lot at us and we answered a lot of questions.

“This week was going to be a big focus for us. They are the reigning champions. They have something we cherish very dearly. We needed to make sure we produced a performance that shows how much we care about that trophy, and I think we did that.”

He added: “Commitment was at the heart of that. We dug in. We had a couple of set-backs with Logo pulling out injured and Gengey in the warm-up.

“It was a massive shift and a really big team effort.”

Tigers scored two tries through Nick Malouf, his second for the club, and a fifth in five games for Jonny May. George Ford enjoyed a 100 per cent record with the boot, kicking two conversions, a penalty and a drop goal.

And O’Connor praised the contribution of the players across the back line in creating and finishing the try-scoring opportunities.

“We are always going to be a threat on the edges,” said O’Connor. “With the distribution you get out of Youngs, Ford and Toomua is world-class. there is going to be space on the edges.

“They move the ball brilliantly and it was a fair finish from both of those lads.

“I thought Telusa was very good. We want to get Nick, Jonny and Telusa the ball because they are such a threat."