Planet Rugby

Wounded Tigers ready for 2014/15

23rd July 2014 14:15

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Paul Burke for Leicester Tigers

Working hard: Paul Burke

Leicester backs coach Paul Burke has been targeting backline cohesion and fluency as key areas of work during training ahead of the new campaign.

Burke, whose side were without several players due to injury in 2013/14, hopes for better luck on that front when the season starts in September.

Two players who missed the majority of last term were England centre Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen, as Leicester's midfield was badly affected, something Burke stressed had hurt their game.

"The biggest challenge for me as a coach was the lack of cohesion and fluency on the field," he explained, speaking to the Leicester Mercury.

"There were loads of changes in midfield because of the injuries we sustained and that affected our continuity.

"But, at the same time, our set-piece can improve, our discipline can improve and our defence can improve too.

"If you get all of those aspects right, you have a chance of winning games. If those things are not right, you can struggle - and we struggled at times last season.

"We were creating chances but our execution could be better when we were breaking the line. And our discipline let us down at crucial times."

Leicester fell at the semi-final hurdle last season, going down 21-20 to Northampton, and they have clearly been working hard to work out what went wrong at Franklin's Gardens.

"As a group of coaches, we have sat down and looked at areas that we need to improve on," added Burke.

"And the players need to accept that they were not good enough at times too.

"Not getting to the final (last season) was desperately disappointing and, if anything, it has made us more determined as a group to make sure that doesn't happen again.

"Fair play to Saints who went on to win the title.

"But the weight of having to defend that title this season is something they have never experienced. And everyone wants to chop you down and beat you.

"All credit to them, but we are wounded, licking our wounds and looking forward to the start."

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