Tom Youngs says the Leicester Tigers squad showed the kind of spirit vital to a successful European campaign in Saturday’s opener against Racing 92 in Paris.
Despite disappointment at defeat, Tigers skipper Youngs remained optimistic after seeing the team “stay in the fight” to take a point at the Stade Yves du Manoir with a home game to come against Castres Olympique this weekend.
“Something we’ve been working on is our resilience as a group when it is not quite going our way,” he said. “We conceded a couple of tries but we just needed to get a hold of the ball, believe in what you’re doing and stay in there. We did that.
“It is going to be a tough pool, we have to go to some tough places and that is where you know you have got to dig deep for every point. That’s where it is vitally important to pick up something everywhere you go."
Tigers took an early lead in Paris with a try from Luke Hamilton, but Racing replied with three clinical finishes before half-time. Another try from Jonny May in the second half kept Tigers in the hunt before the hosts finally took the win at 22-18, though the losing bonus point did get Tigers off the mark in Europe.
“The effort was great," said Youngs. "At the beginning of the second half we were defending a lot for the first 15 or 20 minutes, and then at the end we shut them out again. We talked about it taking all 23 men to get something out of the game. They were coming hard at us and looked like they could score, but we worked hard and in the end turned over ball.
“We had a couple of opportunities ourselves and couldn't quite take them. There were opportunities for us to win it, but it is a tough place and we took something out of it.
"We prepared really well in the week but we didn’t quite nail it in a couple of those key moments. You don’t get many of those chances, maybe three or four a game, in Europe.
“It’s still a disappointed dressing room because we didn’t come here to lose. We take the point, especially after last year. It shows we’re going the right way."
Tigers host Castres Olympique on Saturday in Round 2. Match tickets are available now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2)(open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday) or online any time.