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Rugby News

Win was important but Matt wants more

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Matt O’Connor says Leicester Tigers need to improve “across the board” when the team return to Aviva Premiership action with a trip to Kingsholm next month.

Following six defeats in a row in all competitions, Tigers got back to winning ways with three tries in a 19-15 triumph over London Irish in Round 13 of the Premiership season at Welford Road on Saturday.

Next, O’Connor and his men face Castres and Racing 92 in Europe and have two Anglo-Welsh Cup ties before league action resumes.

“I thought we were the much better side, but we didn’t get the rewards on the scoreboard and that kept them in the game,” said Tigers head coach O’Connor after tries from Matt Toomua, Jonny May and Manu Tuilagi sealed the win over bottom-of-the-table Irish.

“They defended well, they made us work hard, they raced off the line and made it pretty chaotic. They made their tackles, to be fair, and we have to make sure when we have your opportunities you get some scoreboard pressure.

“It’s four points, we’ll take that and move on. We have a month now without Premiership rugby to look at a few things and be better when we get to Gloucester. The points are important, we will get a bit of belief out of that, but we have to be better.

“It’s important to win, we needed to make sure we stayed in touch with those teams above us in the table, but we have to be better across the board. We didn’t perform anywhere really. There wasn’t one aspect we’ve happy with by our standards, but we’ll have a look and re-set.

“We didn’t execute on the big moments today. We started the game quite well, we had a couple of opportunities that we let slip because we didn’t look after the ball well enough. It’s disappointing we had so much field position and possession that we didn’t execute on.”

Tuilagi scored his first try since his comeback from a knee injury and O’Connor is backing the centre to continue his improvement with more gametime.

“It’s good to see him do a lot of the hard graft again tonight,” said O’Connor. “He will be better for it. He is looking better every week and he did a lot of positive things today.”

Tigers go to Castres Olympique on Sunday and then host Racing 92 in the final game of the pool stages in the Champions Cup on Sunday, January 21 (1.00pm kick-off). Tickets are on general sale now.