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Rugby News

Tigers show true grit in European win

Grit and determination were the qualities which most pleased head coach Steve Borthwick in Saturday’s European Challenge Cup hard-fought win at Bayonne.

Tries from Tommy Reffell, Dan Kelly and Kini Murimurivalu, plus 13 points from fly-half Zack Henry, gave Leicester Tigers a 28-20 win to add to the bonus-point victory over Brive in Round 1.

“I’m really pleased with aspects of the performance, but especially with the grit and determination the players showed,” said Borthwick.

Tigers survived three yellow cards, including two together just before half-time, but pushed into a 15-point lead midway through the second half and braved concerted pressured from the hosts.

Borthwick added: “When we stuck to the plan, we were able to put a lot of pressure on Bayonne. There were periods where we went off that plan, but what was very pleasing when we went men down was the players kept their composure and adapted and played very well.

“The players managed that period and they deserve enormous credit for that.

“You can see the character of the team, that was very positive. The way the team scrambled back and defended on our goal-line with grit and determination and heart. But we’ll look at how the opposition got into those positions and put pressure on us.

“Tonight is a step forward in certain aspects which is pleasing, and there are also things to work on, things we need to be better at.”

After taking nine points out of a possible 10 in the opening rounds of Europe, Tigers return to Gallagher Premiership action with a Boxing Day trip to Newcastle Falcons.

“We will enjoy the win but the focus moves on very quickly,” Borthwick said. “We will review and recover, we will get back to Leicester and start work to get ready to put in a best possible performance at Newcastle.”