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Rugby News

Round 11 Reaction: Steve Borthwick

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Steve Borthwick admitted his side, while victorious over London Irish, allowed The Exiles too many opportunities in their Gallagher Premiership clash.

Speaking after the two-point, 33-31 win at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, the Leicester Tigers Head Coach said he was ultimately “proud” of the way his players closed out the tight-encounter but was still looking for improved cohesion in the ranks.

“London Irish are a dangerous side with plenty of speed, athleticism and tonight we gave them too many opportunities,” said Borthwick.

“They are brilliant in attack off the back of line-outs and turnovers, the best in the league, and we presented chances for them in those areas, which was disappointing.

“I thought our discipline could have been better too but, ultimately, I am really pleased that the players found a way to close out the game in the end and get the result.”

Analysing his own side’s performance further, Borthwick added: “I’m proud of the effort and fight we saw, the players fought hard to get the win against a quality side.”

“The scrum was excellent tonight and thought, at the end of the game, helped us close out the match.

“What we want is improved cohesion in this group, which has been challenging to find during this period.

“We’ve had a lot of players in and out, away with international duty and stop-start schedule in terms of games, but we have remained focused on improving as a group.”

The stop-start schedule has included just two home games in this season’s Premiership campaign, with the most recent a half-century of days ago.

Back at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in action in front of the Tigers Family is something Borthwick was open about he, his coaches and the players having missed while out on the road or without a match.

“It has been a long time and, as I think I said during the week, we have missed being here, missed playing in front of all of our supporters,” said the Tigers Head Coach.

“It’s a special place, Mattioli Woods Welford Road, and again today you saw how special when 20,000 plus turn up and cheer on the team in the way that only Leicester Tigers fans do.

“We’re incredibly privileged to have the support we do.”

Today’s fixture doubled as the final appearance in green, red and white for Nemani Nadolo.

The Fijian superstar and fan-favourite arrived in Leicester midway during the COVID-19 pandemic and leaves with 43 appearances and one try short of 100 points for the club.

Discussing the legacy of Nadolo in the East Midlands, Borthwick said it was far beyond what everybody will remember from his on-field efforts.

“People see Nemani and know Nemani as the player, doing what we does so well on game days,” Borthwick said.

“What we are lucky enough to see and I feel so grateful to have seen up close is the person, the leader and the experienced player who has given so much to this club every single day.

“His knowledge, experience and personality has been sensational for every player in this group and we all wish him, his wife Kim and son Ethan the very, very best in their next chapter in Australia.”

Leicester Tigers travel to Bristol Bears in Round 12 on Saturday, December 3.