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Rugby News

'Squad effort was huge' in fifth successive win

Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in the second half of the bonus-point win at Twickenham
Sione Kalamafoni scored two tries in the second half of the bonus-point win at Twickenham

The non-stop effort of the full 23-man squad was the key to Saturday’s bonus-point win over Bath Rugby, according to Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor.

Tigers came back from a 13-10 deficit at half-time - despite Bath having to endure a period of play with just 13 men following two yellow cards - but still headed back up the M1 with five points from a 34-19 triumph after 80 minutes.

“Bath were very good in the first half and we were a bit off,” said O’Connor afterwards. “But we fixed it at half-time and I thought the second half was brilliant. We were probably as good as we have been there.

“The whole 23 in the back-end of the game we did not relent. We put Bath under pressure at every opportunity, the bench made a big impact and we got over the line for a few tries."

After an Adam Thompstone score during the period when Bath were short-handed, second-half tries from Sione Kalamafoni (2), Sam Harrison and Telusa Veainu wrapped up the points in a fifth successive win for Tigers.

“I thought Sione was the best player on the field by some distance,” added O’Connor. “His workrate is enormous and he is incredibly accurate in what he does.

“We kept the ball in hand, we got good go-forward from our carries and good field position off the back of that, which was very important in the 10-minute sin-bin period for Thommo in the second half when Bath were down our end of the field.

“We were very accurate, we didn’t give them opportunities to build any belief in the second half and that was probably the difference.

“The guys have worked really, really hard to address some of the things that were letting us down and we said at the time that we weren’t far away and I think the last six weeks have demonstrated that.”

The victory took Tigers up to third place in the Aviva Premiership table with just three games remaining in the regular league season. Northampton Saints are the visitors to Welford Road on Saturday, with games to follow at home to Newcastle Falcons on Friday, April 27 (7.45pm) and then away to Sale Sharks on Saturday, May 5 (4.00pm).

Tickets for remaining home fixtures are on sale now at the Tigers ticket office. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 or online.