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We looked rusty but it's a win - Murphy

Jonah Holmes runs in to score a first try in his Tigers career
Jonah Holmes runs in to score a first try in his Tigers career

Geordan Murphy says the coaching staff will “learn a lot about players” during the Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures.

Leicester Tigers began their defence of the trophy with a 26-24 victory over Gloucester Rugby at Welford Road on Saturday with Adam Thompstone marking his return to the line-up with a try while man of the match Charlie Thacker and debutant Jonah Holmes grabbed their first scores for the club.

“I thought we looked a bit rusty,” said coach Murphy who led the team to the silverware in 2016/17.

“Everyone worked really hard and I thought we deserved the win. But there were a lot of bodies that hadn’t played a lot of rugby in there and it showed at times because there were a lot of errors. You learn a lot about guys who haven’t played a lot.

“It was a bit flat at times and we’re disappointed that we didn’t manage it in the last 15 minutes. We were probably chasing it a bit too much – that’s exuberance of youth perhaps –  rather than just defending your two-point lead.”

After leading early on, Tigers trailed 21-24 with just 10 minutes remaining after a try from Tom Hudson which the referee confirmed after lengthy discussion with the television match official and which certainly surprised the home crowd who felt there had been a forward pass in the build-up.

“I was slightly surprised at the try,” said Murphy. “But perhaps the most pleasing thing was the way the team responded. You could be shocked by it but instead we got a well-worked team try just a few minutes later. That is something we’ll talk about when we come back in on Monday.”

Charlie Thacker received the man-of-the-match award, both from the broadcasters and from the supporters voting on the club app during the second half after scoring his first senior try.

“Charlie did a great job,” said Murphy. “Last year his brother Harry was getting all the plaudits, so it’s nice for him to get the award at home. He’s a real Tigers man, it means a lot to him and he showed that today.”

Tigers travel to face Bath Rugby in the second round of the competition on Friday (7.45pm) before returning to Welford Road for back-to-back home games in the Aviva Premiership against Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors. Tickets for all home games in the first half of the season are on sale now at the Tigers ticket office.