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Triumph of will in derby day win

Drained. There are many other words for how it felt at the final whistle last Saturday, but that is how The Tig felt. Drained.

After five defeats on the bounce, with so many key senior players away, Derby Day, the pressure was certainly on and it felt like a very emotional week.

Then with three injuries in the opening 40 minutes, including both scrum-halves, Tigers had a wing at 9 and a 7 on the wing. It really was backs (and forwards) against the wall.

Memories came flooding back of that game against Ospreys when an injury-hit side included All Blacks flanker Craig Newby at centre. His place in the game, all defiance and determination, summed up the whole team that day and it was nice to know there is still part of that in the Tigers camp.

Of course, one narrow win does not make a summer but in the circumstances, in a rut of results, in the face of that pressure, the 19-14 scoreline will do.

And, by the way, great going Joe Ford. Stepping into a key role, he took a lot on his shoulders, especially when he welcomed a third half-back partner of the afternoon shortly before half-time and his place as a winner and the man of the match was thoroughly warranted, though there were lots of others who showed their mettle too.

Asked to sum up the performance or the result in one word, there were lots of options. ‘Drained’ was just one of them.

The match report published on the Tigers website at full-time used ‘plucky’.  

Geordan said ‘proud’ and his opposite number Dai Young used ‘robbed’.

Wasps supporters may have said ‘lucky’ and critics would say ‘untidy’.

But The Tig prefers another one of Geordan’s words from his post-match interviews – ‘gritty’.

Proper Leicester Tigers grit at that.