Tigers thriving under Mauger’s revolution

Date published: April 22 2016

If Leicester Tigers reach this year's Champions Cup Final the role of their head coach, Aaron Mauger, should not be underestimated.

The Tigers will be brimming with confidence when they head into Sunday's Champions Cup semi-final against Racing 92 in Nottingham and that will be in no small part thanks to the attacking revolution which Mauger introduced at the club.

Last season, Leicester had one of the worst attacking records in the Premiership with only relegated London Welsh scoring less tries than them. 

But under Mauger's guidance they now run the ball from all parts of the field and their 41-13 quarter-final triumph over Stade Français – in which they scored six tries – is evidence that they are reaping the rewards.

"We encourage the boys to play every blade of grass available on the field and you are seeing that with the skill sets we have produced in the last three or four weeks," Mauger told the Guardian

"There has been a lot of learning along the way and some poor decisions at times. We have not always executed our skills but the balance of what we are doing is working pretty well. 

"If you go into the 79th minute of a game and have never practised moving the ball into space, you will never back yourself to take the opportunity when it comes.

“The ability to see opportunities and the confidence and trust to execute skills when they are there are critical for us. If you do not have that approach, you are limiting yourself and will miss chances to turn a game. 

"I knew it was not going to be plain sailing and that we would go through ups and downs and that there would be times when people questioned it. The pleasing thing for me was there was never any doubt from the coaching group or the players. We all believe in what we are doing. We have learned through failed experiences: if you do not try things you do not get where we are now. The growth has been massive.

“Leicester has been a club that focused heavily on winning but winning is the result of really good processes. Style is about mentality, as Argentina have shown since joining the Rugby Championship, now playing with tempo and their heads up. 

"If the people in charge have a clear vision of how they want to play the game, it is pretty simple to put the parts in place so you are able to execute under pressure. 

"The club were pretty clear in what they wanted, although I am not sure if they knew how it was going to look through the learning process.

"Cockers [Richard Cockerill, Leicester’s director of rugby] knew it was probably the right thing to do and one thing we talked at length about was not losing the ability of the pack to influence a game as well because that is a very important strength for us.

"We are now challenging for the Premiership and the European Champions Cup, but I believe we have only scratched the surface in terms of our ability to play."