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Tigers thank good fortune in narrow win at Falcons

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Richard Cockerill admits that Leicester Tigers rode their luck in securing a second away win of the season at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Tigers trailed by 10 points before Mike Fitzgerald scored his first Aviva Premiership try and then held a four-point lead going into the closing stages of the game at Kingston Park.
But then a Falcons penalty, following a yellow card for Peter Betham at a ruck near his own tryline, set up a grandstand finish and Tigers were only able to confirm a 14-13 victory when Newcastle’s replacement fly-half Joel Hodgson missed a drop-goal attempt with the last kick of the game.
“We did not play very well,” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill. “We put a lot of endeavour and heart into it and worked hard for the result, but we’re very disappointed in the performance.
“I thought we had lots of opportunities to manage the game better and do things better, but we did not. We were lucky to come away with the win, there’s no getting away from that.

"But the effort the players are putting in is credit to them. Credit to Newcastle too, they played well and they had their opportunities to win it.
“We take the four points – it is four more than we got here last year. But we need to be smarter, make smarter decisions and execute better. We were guilty at times of coughing up ball in key areas when we were putting pressure on the opposition and played ourselves into trouble at times, but we go away with the points.
“In the first half when we are down next to our goalline, we defended hard and stayed in the game. That effort to get back and defend and win the game was great, in the end that probably won the game. We could’ve lost and we would not have any complaints because we did not play well enough to take Falcons out of the equation.
“It is now nine points from three games, now we have to front up next week and make sure we play better than that.”
While Aviva man of the match Fitzgerald celebrated a first league try since joining the club last summer, the forward pack included Ellis Genge, Graham Kitchener and Mike Williams in their first starting appearance of the season, with Owen Williams at centre in his first start of the season after an arm injury. Ben Youngs made the 100th Premiership start of his career after playing the first two games of the season as a replacement.
“There is a long way to go, and we are going to need to play a lot better,” said Cockerill. “We’ve got Bath at home next week and they have had a fantastic start to the season so we know need to be a lot better than we were today.
“We played poorly but we found a way to win, we cared enough to stick in there when we could have easily lost.”
Tigers against Bath is a 3pm kick-off on Sunday (September 25). Match tickets are available now. Book online any time by clicking here. Or book at Welford Road or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) to book at the Tigers ticket office, open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday.