Steve Borthwick believes his side showed progress from Round 1 to help secure a bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons, 36-21, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in Round 2 of this season’s Gallagher Premiership.
“I thought we saw some progress in some areas today up against last weekend,” said Borthwick.
“We are starting to develop as a team well and I think our cohesion is improving but there is still plenty to work on.
“There are a lot of new players in this group and today we had another guy in Joe Taufete’e make his club debut, adding to the four in Round 1, which is fantastic.
“Add to that the six guys making their first appearance of the season and you can see that there is still a lot to learn among this group, about each other and about playing together”
One of the sextet running out for the first time in the 22/23 campaign was Nemani Nadolo, who crossed twice in the first-half and was only denied a hat-trick after the TMO overturned his second-half score.
Discussing the impact of Nadolo - on and off the pitch, Borthwick was in high praise for the Fijian outside-back.
“He’s a powerful carrier, as everyone knows, and is a player who knows his way to the try-line,” said the Tigers Head Coach.
“Nemani is a valuable player and person within our group, not only for what he brings on the field but his experiences and knowledge off it are something that add a lot to the club.”
In addition to Nadolo, Borthwick included Calum Green, as well as Ollie Chessum, Joe Heyes, Guy Porter and Jack van Poortvliet for the first time this season - with the latter four cleared to play after mandatory rest periods following the summer tour of Australia with the senior men’s national side.
Asked about the process of clearance for players to play, Borthwick said it was the individual circumstances of each that Tigers were basing returns on.
“Each of the players that go on international duty are managed individually, depending on their needs and will continue to be managed on them also,” he said.
“Ollie and Guy started today, while Joe and Jack returned via the bench - it isn’t a single approach for all.
“We’re going to do what’s right for the player, so they are in the best position to be able to play well all season - nobody will be rushed back.”
Leicester travel to Northampton to take on Saints next weekend, however Borthwick was more keen to discuss the more than 18,000 fans who were in stands at Mattioli Woods Welford Road for today’s fixture than the next one.
“I think, for now, we will enjoy tonight and all that comes with being able to be back here at Mattioli Woods Welford Road today among so many of our supporters,” said Borthwick.
“It’s a special place with a support and passion like no other in the game, which we haven’t had for a few months.
“We’re privileged to have this venue, this supporter base and we will enjoy today before getting back to hard work next week at Oval Park, together, as we continue to try and improve as a group.”