Red card galvanised Tigers

Date published: May 9 2015

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill says his team answered their critics in the best way possible in Saturday's hard-fought win over Wasps.

Tigers moved into third place in the Aviva Premiership standings as they outscored their hosts three tries to nil at a sold-out Ricoh Arena to win 26-21 despite playing the entire second half with only 14 men.

Fijian centre Seremaia Bai was sent off for recklessly charging into a ruck and connecting with Wasps number eight Nathan Hughes' head.

Cockerill had no issue with the red card and instead praised his players for their reaction.

"Seremaia getting sent off put the cat among the pigeons, and gave them options to get back into the game," said Cockerill.

"But I thought our players' reaction in scoring a try to add to the two in the first half was fantastic.

"The effort and attitude was brilliant. Our attitude across the board, with and without the ball, was exemplary.

"To come here, which is not an easy place with their record, and score three tries and not concede any against a side as dangerous as Wasps, is credit to the players.

"A lot of questions have been asked about us this season and I think today the players answered them.

"They wanted to win. The sending-off galvanised us. Our defence and attitude to win was first class.

"[Bai] is not a dirty player. He has played for a long time and this is his first sending-off. He was frustrated with the circumstances.

"But if you drop a shoulder into someone's head, you are going to get sent off. No complaints."

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted the better side had won.

"I'm pleased with the occasion," he said of the 32,000 crowd.

"It was fantastic. But there are no complaints from me about the result. The best team won.

"In the first half, we struggled with their physicality. We could not control their power and could not get any momentum.

"You don't get into the top four year after year without being clinical and they were.

"The difference between the teams was accuracy, and how clinical they were. In the contact area, they did a job on us."

"The target this year was always a top-six finish," he added.