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Deacon enjoying fight and effort of players

Brett Deacon paid tribute to the on-field and off-field efforts of everyone at Leicester Tigers following the win over Sale Sharks at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

The assistant coach, who has taken the lead for this season’s Premiership Rugby Cup campaign, believes players and staff could have used excuses heading into the opening round of the competition.

"We talk about performances, we talk about fight and we talk about hard work"

Brett Deacon

However, both pleasantly and unsurprisingly, Deacon says it was never a thought or talking point at the club’s Oval Park base.

“We could have had excuses this week; there were a lot of changes, we gave the squad a little bit of time this week to recover and only had one day training together on Wednesday,” said Deacon.

“Staff members stepped up in different roles, we used two guys on loan from Nottingham - who had one session to get up to speed - and we had seven debutants out there on the pitch.

“I’m not surprised either that everyone just got on with the job, because that’s what we’re about, but it was still great to see.”

Included among those changes, off the pitch, were new faces in the coaches box alongside Deacon in Craig Hammond (Nottingham Rugby) and Geraint Davies (Tigers Academy), as well as absentees in Steve Borthwick, Aled Walters and Richard Wigglesworth, who watched on alongside Tigers fans in the crowd.

Speaking about the contribution of the staff, he said: “It’s a credit to all of the staff, who just got on with the hard work hard to prepare the team to put in a performance we could be proud of and our supporters could be proud of as well.”

Looking back on the game, Deacon admitted there were times the side could have cost themselves a result.

“They had a heavy, experienced forward pack, so it was really important that we limited time they had in our half,” he said.

“In that third quarter, just after half-time, we probably cost ourselves with indiscipline and they brought their forwards into the game.

“They were tough in that third quarter … as soon as we got back to managing penalties, discipline and controlling field position, we were very strong.”

The victory sees Leicester make it nine straight so far this season and, when asked about what it means, Deacon squashed any suggestion it was a motivating factor for the club.

“We don’t talk about winning,” he said.

“We talk about performances, we talk about fight and we talk about hard work.

“Then, we show that fight and we do the hard work.

“If we win, we review it and find where we need to improve. And, if we don’t win, we review it and find where we need to improve … then we go back to Oval Park and work really hard to improve.”

Casting his eye ahead to Round 2 of the Cup, Deacon believes those who delivered the result to kick-off the campaign will be in line for selection to face Wasps away from home.

“There will be some similarities,” he said.

“But, while I’d expect a similar team, we will need to have a look at selection and - thankfully - we are in a position where every single player is putting their hand up with their efforts at Oval Park and making those decisions tough for Steve and the coaching team.”

Leicester Tigers travel to Coventry to take on Wasps in Round 2 of the Premiership Rugby Cup on Saturday, November 20.