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Stankovich praises young Tigers side for on-script effort

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Boris Stankovich admitted to being ‘disappointed’ following the Premiership Rugby Shield loss to Northampton Wanderers at Welford Road on Monday evening but, when speaking post-match to LeicesterTigers.com, said he was proud to see the young Tigers squad ‘step up’ against the experienced Northampton outfit.

Stankovich, who has taken charge of the Tigers Development Squad during this season’s Shield campaign, said: “It was a very experienced Wanderers side.”

“I think our boys probably deserved more than what they got, considering where they are in their careers, starting out.

“I’m really disappointed for the lads but really content with the performance tonight … but our young lads stepped up and did what was asked of them.”

Sharing his thoughts on the match and the performance of the youthful Leicester squad, which featured fourteen Tigers Academy graduates, refused to pin-point one individual after a team effort in the narrow, two-point loss.

“They all played well, there were some really strong performances,” said Stankovich.

“I can’t single anyone out … it was a great display from each player.

“The guys coming off the bench added to it as well.”

Stankovich was also delighted to see the Tigers team stick to the game plan and take their chances for points when they arrived in the 80-point thriller.

“I was very proud,” he said.

“We went off script a couple of times and caught behind the gain line but, for the vast majority, they stuck to the game plan and when the opportunities arose, they took them.”

A former Tigers player, turned coach, Stankovich knows the feeling of playing at the historic Leicester venue and knows how special the occasion is for any young rugby player.

“It’s the first time for a lot of these guys to play at Welford Road, which is a special occasion,” Stankovich said.

“I’m very thankful to our guest players who turned out for the club tonight, allowing the fixture to go ahead, we’re very grateful to them.

“Hopefully all of the lads enjoyed this occasion.”

As well as the young Tigers on the field, the likes of Tom Youngs, George Ford, Jonah Holmes and several other members of the Leicester senior squad were present to watch the ‘Cubs’ in action, which Stankovich said helped create a buzz among the entire group.

“A lot of these guys help prepare our first team each week,” he said.

“There’s a real buzz around our place tonight among the senior guys who were watching, for the younger members of the squad who performed so well tonight.”