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'Spirited' win keeps Tigers in the hunt

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Richard Cockerill says there is no faulting the spirit of the Leicester Tigers players after a 12-6 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium on Sunday.In a match affected by constant rain, neither side produced a try, but Tigers celebrated the win thanks to nine points from Freddie Burns and a penalty from replacement David Mele.   “It wasn’t pretty and there were errors, but we put bodies on the line and really wanted to get the win” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill.   “There was a belligerence there. We defended well, we wanted the win, you could see in that in the ferocity of what we were doing. This is not a side without spirit.”   Tigers enjoyed dominance at the set-piece and led 9-0 after 22 minutes before two penalties from Shane Geraghty cut the Irish deficit to just three points.   Mele, on at half-time after Burns had taken a bang on the head, kicked Tigers’ only points of the second half as Tigers moved up one place to sixth in the Aviva Premiership table, level with next Saturday’s visitors Sale Sharks and just one behind Saracens and Exeter Chiefs in the top four.   “We could’ve made it easier for ourselves and could have been further ahead with the penalty count in the first half,” said Cockerill. “If those other three penalties had gone over we would have been 18-3 ahead and that changes the mindset of both sides. We were a bit disappointed that we ended up getting into an arm wrestle.     “We could be better, but our 9, 10, 12 and 13 are all missing and we still found a way to win. This squad deserves credit for that.   “It is about winning and we’ll take the four points. These points will be huge in the end of the season no matter where we go from here.”   Tigers host Sale Sharks at 3pm on Saturday. Tickets are available now. Call in at the Tigers ticket office, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or click here to book online.