Tom Youngs says errors in execution rather than in discipline were a key factor in derby defeat for Leicester Tigers on Saturday.
The Tigers captain was speaking after a loss to Northampton Saints in the 246th East Midlands derby which included two yellow cards in the period just before and immediately after half-time.
“We don’t want to give away yellow cards but it happens and those guys learn from that. But we didn’t finish our opportunities when we had them. There were some opportunities that we gave them too,” said Youngs.
“We had plenty of entries in their 22 and didn’t execute on them, which was disappointing."
Trailing 12-3 after half an hour, Tigers pulled the deficit back to two points shortly before half-time, but were 23-10 behind again before setting up a big finish with a Nemani Nadolo's second try cutting the gap to five points. The closing stages of the game were then played in Saints territory before the visitors closed out the win with their work in defence.
“Rugby is about momentum and when it swings against you it is difficult to get hold of it," said Youngs.
“The pleasing thing is we got back into the game [after conceding two first-half tries] and that we created those chances, but we just couldn’t execute a few times when we had good position and we gave them a couple of opportunities too.
“You only get a certain amount of opportunities in these games and we have to be better and make sure we take them.”
The return from injury of Nadolo and Cyle Brink with five rounds of the league season remaining and the European Challenge Cup campaign which continues with a semi-final against Ulster Rugby on Friday evening provided some positive news.
“They’ve worked incredibly hard off the field to get back,” added Youngs. “They are great players, it’s nice to have them back and hopefully they can now help us in towards the end of the season.”