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Rugby News

We were always going to rotate - Geordan

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Geordan Murphy says management of the playing squad in a hectic restart period is vital for Leicester Tigers despite defeat by Bath on Saturday.

Tigers were beaten 38-16, with Bath claiming four tries in the first half against a team with an average age of under 24 years and including four debutants.

Director of rugby Murphy said: “None of the players have experience of three games in eight days so we were always going to rotate the squad. We felt it was the best thing to do in light of the long lockdown break and then the quick turnaround around between games.

“It's important for us to manage our squad and we’ve come up with our strategy to do that.

“We picked a side knowing those guys had put a huge workload in and deserved an opportunity to go out and play. We didn’t know what Bath would select, but we selected the right side for us on the day.

“Obviously, we’re not happy with the result, but some young lads did a reasonable job and will learn lessons and will be better for it down the line.”

Tigers led early on with two penalties before Bath claimed their opening score and then pulled away in the 20 minutes up to half-time, showing how quickly momentum can change in a game at Gallagher Premiership level.

“We started the game very well, we were 6-0 up and I thought things were going quite well,” said Murphy.

“But we gave away a couple of poor penalties and gave Bath some opportunities to launch at us, and when they got five metres out they showed what a difficult side they are to keep out.

“At 26-6 at half-time, with an inexperienced side, there is a danger it can run away, but the guys stuck at it, put in a lot of effort and we got a couple of tries back.”

Tigers have a home game against London Irish on Wednesday and go to Gloucester just four days later, highlighting the need to share opportunities within the squad.

“There are seven more league games and also Europe in a very short space of time,” added Murphy. “It’s also important we build our fitness. That has been improving and looked like it had gone another level today. Some guys went 80 minutes in a challenging game and we’ll keep growing and building.

“As long as the guys are learning and growing and getting better, we’ll be in a good place.”