Matt O’Connor says Leicester Tigers need to be more ruthless in attack and make the most of scoring opportunities after victory at London Irish on Saturday made it four in a row in the Aviva Premiership.
Tries from Nick Malouf, Will Evans and Jonny May – his sixth in six games – plus 13 points from George Ford gave Tigers a 28-27 win at the Madejski Stadium in the final round of league action before attention turns to Europe.
“I thought by and large we were very accurate in the first half, but we let ourselves down a bit by not getting far enough in front on the scoreboard on the back of some good stuff there,” said head coach O’Connor.
“We did some really good things to make line-breaks and we were working really hard to get the ball in space. When you create those you have to be ruthless to take them.
“We let Irish stay in the game and, fair play to them, they came back later on.
“Building a score was important, we gave Irish the respect they deserve away from home and we managed the game really well from that perspective.
“The first 20 minutes were very good, but we had four or five opportunities to score tries which we did not execute and that kept Irish in the hunt. There were a few errors, whether that is poor decisions or poor execution at times, but we take the four points.
“Four points away from home is important and four wins on the bounce in the Aviva Premiership is good for us.”
Tigers were forced into two changes in the squad on the morning of the game, with full-back Telusa Veainu ruled out by illness and Ben Youngs, who had been due to start on the bench, also ill. Mathew Tait stepped up to start in the backline, with Ben White making his first appearance of the season as a replacement scrum-half when Sam Harrison went off before half-time.
“It was disappointing to lose two guys before the game and it puts the squad under pressure,” said O’Connor. “But there were a lot of pleasing performances.
“We’d made some changes after two tough weeks against Quins and Exeter, then we had those changes ahead of the game. It was a telling point when Sione Kalamafoni and Sam Harrison went off before half-time before they are important guys and when we had the sin bin for Gareth Owen it becomes an arm-wrestle.
“It’s really positive to get a win when you make changes on the morning of the game and those guys step up and make positive contributions. They were really important today.”