The failure to capitalise on a strong opening quarter proved decisive in the last-minute defeat at Wasps on Saturday, according to Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor.
Tigers held a 10-point lead just 15 minutes into the game after an early try from skipper Tom Youngs, but the hosts rallied to claim two tries in a 10-minute spell and they led 17-10 at half-time on the way to a 32-25 victory sealed with a last-minute score from Kearnan Myall.
“The difference was probably we didn’t get enough scoreboard pressure in the first 20 minutes or so where we were pretty dominant,” said O’Connor.
“At 10-0, if we could have got another score on the board it could have been a long afternoon for them.
“But they were fighting really hard to get the next score at that point and they came back hard there. We needed to be a bit more accurate and get down the other end of the field and get something there.”
Jonah Holmes grabbed a second-half double for Tigers to claim a 17-22 lead before tries from Elliot Daly and Myall wrapped up a bonus-point win for the hosts, with Tigers taking just a point as they slipped to sixth in the table with 10 rounds played.
“It was pretty tight, both teams ripped into each other. They had a lot of ball and executed well at the end to get the result, fair play to them.
“The effort was outstanding, we worked incredibly hard and did a lot of good things but unfortunately we were a little bit inaccurate and didn’t look after the ball well enough at times and slipped off a couple of tackles at key times.
“We’ve got to look after the ball better. You give quality sides possession they will hurt you and that is probably what happened at the death.”
Dai Young, Wasps director of rugby, said: “It was very tight and I couldn’t have complained if Tigers took it in the end. There was not much between the teams but I’m pleased we had enough bottle and quality to come away with the win.”