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Rugby News

We have to keep improving, says O'Connor

Matt O’Connor says he is happy with the pre-season work from the Leicester Tigers but has warned they have to keep improving.

Tigers wrapped up a hat-trick of pre-season wins with a 40-14 verdict against the Ospreys at Welford Road on Friday, with new signing Jonny May claiming two of the six tries, but head coach O’Connor is looking for even more from the squad.

“It’s a start for us,” said O’Connor with the new Aviva Premiership season now just a week away. “We’ve worked really hard, physically we are getting better, and the conditioning staff and medical staff have done a great job preparing us for a very long season.

“We’ve got a tough pool in Europe and the Aviva Premiership is as tough a competition as there is, so we need to get better every time we get together.

“There are some big tests ahead of us and we have to be ready for Bath in Round One next Sunday.”

With May and George Ford enjoying a first run-out of pre-season on Friday, and Manu Tuilagi back in the team after recovering from a knee injury, supporters enjoyed an exciting performance against the Ospreys, particularly in the first half when Tigers racked up a 26-point lead.

“We thought we could have actually scored more than we did in that period after starting strongly,” said O’Connor. “But we kept our composure, piled on pressure and the points came throughout the first half. It was clinical and that is how we want to go.

“There was lots of ball in play and we were trying to get as much as we could out of the game physically which is good too. A lot of guys have had quality minutes in these games and blokes are putting their hands up for selection.

“Fordy is happy to be back at Welford Road, he did well, Jonny May is a real threat on the wing and it’s great to have guys like Manu, Matt Toomua and Logo Mulipola back. It was Manu’s first hit-out for a while after injury, he’s okay and should be available next week.”

Tigers host Bath on Sunday, September 3, with kick-off at 3.00pm. Tigers In The Park returns with events for all the family based on Nelson Mandela Park from 11.00am. Match tickets are available now, book in person at the Tigers ticket office or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2)(open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday and from 9.00am next Sunday). Or book online any time.