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Rugby News

Thompson praises Tigers teamwork

Guy Thompson believes the want to work hard for one another was the deciding factor in Leicester's Premiership Rugby Cup clash with Exeter Chiefs on Friday night.

Speaking at full-time, the Tigers back-rower paid tribute to his team-mates for their efforts in the bonus-point victory at Welford Road.

"We just went out there and made sure that we worked really hard for each other," he said.

"It has been a long pre-season and we wanted to know where we were [after] tonight ... and we can see there are a lot of positives to take away from this win, but there is also a lot to work on for us going forward.

"We are not going to get ahead of ourselves."

The winner of the Supporters' Newcomer of the Year in his debut season with the club last year, Thompson began his new campaign where he left off with a starring role in the 27-7 victory at Welford Road which included his side's first try just two minutes in to the match.

However, as cliche as it may appear to those on the outside, Thompson says the focus of the squad is simple.

"We are just going to keep building now, it is a long season, and take every game as it comes," said Thompson.

The Tigers finished 11th in last season's Gallagher Premiership and the experienced Thompson pulled no punches in his assessment of the disappointing campaign, which resulted in the squad coming to some "tough" conclusions over the summer.

"We had to work harder, we weren't good enough last year ... it is as simple as that," he said.

"Finishing eleventh is not good enough for a Leicester Tigers squad and we discussed that during the pre-season and owning that and addressing it.

The talk out of Tigers has been surrounding two major changes coming in to the 2019/20 season, toughness and fitness, which Thompson says applies to all parts of the game.

"We have put a hell of a lot of work in and we will continue to, this is only one result ... there is a lot more to come for us and from us this season," Thompson said.

"It applies to all that we do and we have worked extremely hard on our defence and our attack to improve all of it."

The 32-year-old presented new recruit Noel Reid with his BT Sport man of the match award on the Welford Road pitch at full-time and was complimentary of the Irishman's debut for the club, as well as his input throughout the summer.

"To be able to bring in someone who has the experience Noel has has been invaluable to us this pre-season," Thompson said of his team-mate.

"He's already a massive voice in our room and we are glad we have got him."