Premiership: ‘Proper’ clash with Wasps is ideal preparation for playoffs says Leicester Tigers coach Steve Borthwick

Dylan Coetzee

Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick says that a challenging 20-10 victory over Wasps in the final round of the regular season serves as ideal preparation for the upcoming play-offs.

Borthwick has led a resurgence with the impressive Tigers this season, qualifying for their first Premiership semi-final in five campaigns.

However, the former England international lock wants more from his men in terms of execution but enjoyed Saturday’s clash as a contest.

Good preparation

“The most important thing is it’s been a really tough game. What better preparation can you have?” Borthwick said.

“That was a proper game. That was two teams, trying to win. They wanted to win, wanted to get into the top eight.

“They came here with a real clear plan to try and win the game and tested us. I couldn’t be more pleased with the nature of the game.

“Clearly with the execution we want to be better, but in terms of the nature of the contest it was a great contest.

“I thought there were some positive elements but it was clunky overall. I think we missed opportunities but I think both teams struggled with that downpour before kick-off.

“It was very, very greasy. Both teams struggled with the ball in hand. Ultimately it was a clunky game, but really pleased with how the boys managed to find a way to get into a winning position.

“You get to this stage and they’re good teams. Quite a lot has come out from Northampton, they’re thinking about finals rugby. What we will do is, we will enjoy this. I’ve said to the players you’ve got to enjoy the win, keep enjoying the wins.”

Wasps were close to a place in the Champions Cup next season but ended in ninth, earning a spot in next season’s Challenge Cup.

Coach Lee Blackett says his team made too many errors but still sees positives going forward.

“We made too many mistakes with the ball,” he said. “Too many skill errors that you wouldn’t expect and that was the thing.

“I thought our set-piece, something we’ve been working really hard on, I think it’s showing itself at the moment. We’ve worked so hard on it that that’s putting us in great field position.

“There were some positives around the kicking game and some things we definitely needed to fix up. We’re getting field position but what we’re doing with the ball was kicking it back and not taking advantage of that.

“We had a couple of five-metre lineouts where you get yourself down there and we don’t get the try and we come away without any points down there, they’re the things that we need to fix up.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Sale boss Alex Sanderson hails ‘special’ Faf de Klerk