Brett Deacon says Leicester Tigers showed character and determination “in abundance” in victory at Bath on Saturday.
Ahead 15-0 before half-time, Tigers played the final half-hour with 14 men following a red card for Tatafu Polota-Nau but defended resolutely and even added the final points of the game at The Recreation Ground with a Tom Hardwick drop goal in the third round of the Premiership Rugby Cup.
“You could see that tough mindset in abundance in the effort, workrate and the desire to work for each other today,” said coach Deacon following an 18-7 victory which kept Tigers in the hunt for places in the semi-finals ahead of next Saturday’s derby-round fixture with Northampton Saints.
“Phil Blake has done a lot around the ferocity and intensity of our linespeed in defence and we’ve seen that today. We also worked hard to get turnover ball.”
Bath and Tigers were level on points after one win each in the opening two rounds of the knockout competition and Deacon says Tigers were prepared for a late onslaught too when the hosts named some of their most experienced players among the replacements for the Round 3 tie.
“You looked at the two teamsheets yesterday and could see they loaded the bench and you try to predict the last 20 minutes,” he said. “We knew they’d be bringing those experienced guys in and they'll be coming at us. But fair play, we stayed in it and competed even with 14 men.
“There was good composure at the end too, taking down the clock when we had the ball, keeping our discipline in the clear-out and that was good to see.
“It was a really impressive performance. Everyone had to dig deep and we withstood the pressure.”
Adam Thompstone and Harry Simmons provided further positives in the Tigers camp as they came through their first appearances of the season following injury absences.
Tickets for Saturday’s Round 4 derby with Saints are on sale at the Tigers ticket office now. Book in person, phone 0116 319 8888 or online.