Inside the Tigers’ Den - Leicester claw back from poor start

Miles Benjamin back in action for Leicester Tigers. Tiger Images
Miles Benjamin back in action for Leicester Tigers. Tiger Images
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Leicester’s young players fought back from a disastrous start at Worcester to give the club a boost ahead of the return of some of Tigers autumn internationals.

A side of young academy players with a spattering of regular first team players won 21-18 away at Worcester Warriors on Friday night to give Tigers their second win in the LV= Cup.

Leicester got off the hook against a buoyant Warriors side who were looking to build on their opening win of the competition.

Tigers conceded two early tries but were let off the hook by the errant kicking of Worcester’s Paul Warwick.

Owen Williams, who is growing in stature with each performance, kicked two penalties and a drop goal to drag Leicester back to 10-9 at half time.

A try from Michael Noone and a penalty try late in the game was enough to see Leicester over the line to give Matt Smith a great 28th birthday on his first start of the season after breaking his thumb.

Leicester Tigers director of rugby said: “This group of players have put a spring back in the club’s step.

“I’m pleased for the guys across the board. We wanted to see some of those younger guys come in and play under pressure and they’ve stepped up and shown what they can do.”

“The club should be proud of this group of lads and the Academy who have showed again that they can keep producing guys to play in the first team.

“It’s all about us trying to win and using the squad and getting combinations working together as well. All the players can take a lot out of the experience and learn from it.

“Javiah Pohe, Harry Thacker, Joe Cain, Henry Purdy, Harry Wells, Tom Price, George Catchpole, Pasqualle Dunn, Perry Humphreys, all those young players have gained some experience. I’m delighted for them all.

“We know what they can do and they’ve now played in games that have been important for their development.”

Amongst the more familiar names on the team sheet were Jordan Crane and Miles Benjamin who returned to his former club with a bang. After an injury plagued move to the club he appears to be returning to the form which got Leicester fan’s excited when his signing was announced. Next up is a return to league rugby with London Irish visiting Welford Road on Saturday and Gloucester at Kingsholm the following week.

With Tigers sitting in the unaccustomed position of sixth in the Aviva Premiership they will hope to get back on track with two wins against sides in the bottom half of the league.

In other news

Tigers international players suffered a difficult weekend with all but Califorian Blaine Scully ending up on the losing sides.

Dan Cole started for England in their 30-22 defeat at the hands of world champions New Zealand, who are now on the verge of making history by becoming the first top tier international side to go a calendar year unbeaten in the professional era.

Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling, Toby Flood and Ben Youngs all came off the bench in the losing effort at Twickenham.

Tigers’ Argentinean duo Marcos Ayerza and Pablo Matera were on the end of a rout in Cardiff, losing 40-6 at the hands of a ruthless Welsh performance.

The only winner was Scully who touched down for the USA Eagles in their 25-23 win over Georgia in Rustavi on Saturday.