Leicester Tigers can use the first hour of their Gallagher Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs as a blueprint for the rest of the season, according to full-back Telusa Veainu.
Three first-half tries put Tigers up at the break against the Premiership table-toppers in Round 6, but Rob Baxter’s men clawed back in the final quarter to take the spoils at Welford Road.
“Sometimes you try so hard and don’t get the result that you want, but I thought the boys really turned up,” he said.
“I’d also like to thank the crowd for turning up – they were awesome. I’m just sorry that we couldn’t deliver the right result.
“We are really giving it our all and we’re building something good, so be patient with us.”
And the green shoots of a high-intensity game were clear to see on Saturday – with a Jonny May double and a first Tigers try for summer signing Jordan Taufua on his home debut.
“I thought our physicality was on the money,” Veainu continued. “There was some old-school Leicester stuff, and I thought we did that for a good 60 minutes.
“But to compete at the top, we need to do that for a full 80. Exeter are top of the table for a reason – they turn up and do their basics really well. In the second half, in those key moments, that’s where champions are made.
“There are lots of key learnings that we will take through to next week, but this is a real positive step for us.”
The squad have been back to the grind at the club’s Oval Park training base this week ahead of a trip to Twickenham to face Harlequins on Saturday (December 28, 4.30pm), but will split the week around a day of festive celebrations.
Veainu added: “I think it’s the right time for us to go into Christmas, to be honest. It’ll help put perspective into things for us to spend time with our families, and get back on the horse next week.”