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Rugby News

Round 1 Reaction: Steve Borthwick

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Steve Borthwick admitted that there was plenty of disappointment in the away rooms at Sandy Park following defeat to Exeter Chiefs in the opening Gallagher Premiership fixture of the 2022/23 season.

However, speaking post-match, the Leicester Tigers Head Coach said 'pride' was the overriding emotion after the fightback from his side to suffer a last-gasp, 24-20 defeat despite trailing 17-6 at half time.

"As I am sure our supporters are, we are disappointed in today's result," said Borthwick.

"We had opportunities to win the game but, credit to Exeter, they executed the opportunities they had well."

Delving further into the match, Borthwick added: "There are things to tidy up and, as we would whatever the result, we will come in Monday to Oval Park and work hard on making those improvements."

"We had to make adjustments today; down a man in the first-half with the yellow card and forced early changes to the side through injury.

"I was proud of the way the players reacted to those adjustments, adapted to what was required and worked us back into the game."

Speaking about the fightback and his players, Borthwick was in high praise for his squad.

"I think anybody watching today would say that they saw a group of players who will fight for one another, fight for the club and I am proud of the way they did that today," said the Tigers Head Coach.

"The defensive effort was there to be seen - with a handful of efforts in holding up Exeter after several phases - but the resilience was across the park and that spirit, that pride was what allowed us back into the contest in the second-half."

The Tigers Head Coach was also pleased to see a quartet of players - Phil Cokanasiga, Olly Cracknell, James Cronin and Jimmy Gopperth - make their senior Leicester debuts.

"It was pleasing to see four of our new players make their first appearance," Borthwick said.

"Each of the guys we have welcomed to the club have added to the group in their own way, with their own unique experiences and have been brilliant since arriving in the summer.

"I am sure not just the new players, but the entire squad, are looking forward to our first Premiership game at Mattioli Woods Welford Road next weekend in front of all of our supporters - although there were, as there always is, an incredible amount of Leicester Tigers fans here at Sandy Park today which we are so grateful for and privileged to have."