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Tigers take time to bare their teeth

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Richard Cockerill praised the resilience of the players and their leadership on the field after Leicester Tigers made club history with a 38-31 victory at Gloucester on Friday evening.

Trailing 31-7 shortly after half-time, Tigers bounced back with a club record 31 unanswered points and claimed the win with a try and conversion from Sam Harrison in the last action of the game to take five points from the opening game of the Aviva Premiership season.
“We played so poorly in the first 45 minutes, it was average to say the least, we gave away cheap points and did not do what we had practised,” said director of rugby Cockerill. “But then we decided we were going to hold on to the ball and do what we practised, and credit to the players on their resilience. What we’ve been working on shone through in the end.
“The first half was not good enough, but credit the players and the support staff who got them into that condition because we kept our patience, kept playing and kept to the system.
“In the end I’m delighted for the players and the supporters, and delighted that we bared our teeth a bit because that first half was pretty average.
“The players should take a huge credit. Five points away from home is a great start, but we have to make sure we are better next week.
“In the second half, in that last 35 minutes, our leaders on the field made some great decisions, kicking to the corner, building pressure, and that probably won us the game in the end.
“There is so much to be pleased with but we are realistic enough to know that first 45 minutes was not good enough because we do not want that grandstand finale every week.”
Harrison, playing at fly-half after Freddie Burns left the field with cramp in the final quarter of an hour, kicked the conversion from a try by Brendon O’Connor to level the scores at 31-31 with two minutes remaining and then scored a try from a driving maul as Tigers took the lead for the first time, adding the conversion for good measure on the final whistle.
“He’s a local lad, he only ever wanted to play for Leicester and he will do anything for the boys,” said Cockerill. “He puts everything into his game and I had no worries at all that he would kick the points at 31-31. He is Leicester Tigers through and through.”
Tigers host Wasps in Round 2 this Saturday with kick-off at Welford Road at 3pm. Tickets are available now. Activities at Tigers In The Park start at 11am. Click here for more details. For match tickets, call in at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or click here to book online.