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We'll be ready for league return - Cockerill

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Richard Cockerill says the Leicester Tigers squad will be "fit and fresh" for the return to Aviva Premiership action at Worcester Warriors on Friday.

Tigers’ interest in the LV= Cup ended with defeat by Bath last weekend, but Cockerill said there were positives to take from the cup campaign with two wins, some valuable gametime for senior players and experience in good company for the younger members of the squad.

Now attention turns to the Aviva Premiership, with four fixtures to be played during the Six Nations period, beginning at Sixways this weekend.

After Friday’s defeat by Bath, director of rugby Cockerill said: “I thought we showed good character and commitment. We did some really good things in the first half and took the battle to them. In the second half, with the weather and the power they brought off their bench, we were outmuscled at times in the tight and at the lineout.

“I’m disappointed to lose, especially at home, but sometimes you have to take a measured view. This group of players got a lot of experience in the last two weeks and learned a lot.

“Now we go back into the Aviva Premiership, we’ll be fit and fresh, and we know we have some work to do there.”

Tom Bristow gained his first start for the club in the last two cup matches, while Tiziano Pasquali got a taste of senior action, Pablo Matera started consecutive games for the first time since his arrival from Argentina, Academy wing Rhys Williams made his senior debut and several senior players got valuable gametime as they push for a run in the team.

“It was a good learning experience for the younger players,” said Cockerill. “We always have a mixed side out in this competition and see where we get to.

“Bath had a better side in terms of experience and they put us under a bit of pressure in the second half when they brought that bench on. But there is no criticism of the team, the character was great and we take the broader view that the younger players have got more experience and the senior players have got some important time back on the pitch.

“Having that experience for guys like Fraser Balmain, Tom Bristow, Tiziano Pasquali, Pablo Matera, Tom Price, Terrence Hepetema, George Catchpole, Rhys Williams, it is important.

“I don’t want to say losing is acceptable, because it is not what we are about, but look at the bigger picture and for 50 minutes it was a good contest on the scoreboard and I’m pleased with how a lot of players coped with that.

“Look at the bigger picture and where we are at – we’re level with fourth place in the Aviva Premiership and we’re into a quarter-final in Europe, and we’ve picked up no new injuries and we can field a fresh team next week.”