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Rugby News

Worth: ‘We must be tougher’

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A browbeaten George Worth said Leicester Tigers’ final day defeat by Bath was ‘tough’ to take for players and supporters alike.

And the full-back, who made his first start on Saturday since March’s Round 15 win over Wasps, explained why he felt the 31-32 scoreline did not tell the full story of a frenetic match.

“I wouldn’t say so,” he said, when asked if the full-time score was a fair reflection of the contest. “That’s not how it felt in the game.

“They threw a lot at us and we defended well in parts, and obviously I feel like we should have won the game, but it didn’t quite pan out that way.”

“Our intent was unbelievable.”

George Worth

Leicester led 26-15 at half-time through tries from Will Spencer and Brendon O’Connor plus 16 points from Premiership Rugby golden boot winner George Ford.

But Bath hauled themselves back into the game after the break, before replacement prop Jacques van Rooyen forced his way over the tryline with just seconds to spare.

Rhys Priestland added the conversion to edge the visitors ahead, and Worth explained that the last-gasp defeat was an all too familiar story for his side.

“We’re becoming a bit too good at losing those games late on,” he said. “That’s something that we’ve got to change, because there have been a few this season where if we had held on and managed to put games to bed then we would be in a different position.

“That’s got to be the main focus; about playing for the [full] 80 [minutes] and being tougher later on in the game.”

The Tigers Academy graduate was, however, keen to draw out the positives from a tough match which also saw farewells for a number of players – including retiring centre Matt Smith, who will now take up the position of head coach in the club’s academy programme.

Worth continued: “There are positives to pick up on – and there are plenty of things that we can improve – but there are a few positives that we can take forward.

“I thought our intent was unbelievable, the forwards got us over the gainline really, really well, and in the 22 we were pretty clinical as well.

“[As for] Matt, [he] is an unbelievable person to have around the club and he’s definitely going to be missed within the playing group, but luckily enough for us he’ll still be in and around the side.

“He’s been great for me and he’ll be great for the young boys coming through as well.

“Anyone that gets to be coached by him is lucky.”