Matt O'Connor pleased with Leicester 'Tigerness' as they prepare for Wasps clash

19 May 2017 01:09

Head coach Matt O'Connor is pleased with Leicester's progress since returning to the club but insists there is still work to do to return the Tigers to their former glories.

Despite a turbulent season the club finds itself in a 13th consecutive Aviva Premiership semi-final.

Three sacked coaches, including Richard Cockerill as director of rugby, long injury absences to Manu Tuilagi, Matt Toomua and Marcos Ayerza and heavy away defeats in Europe have rocked the Tigers' campaign.

The return of O'Connor as head coach in March not only steadied the ship, it sparked a revival which saw L eicester snatch a fourth-placed finish.

The Australian, who brought the Premiership title to Welford Road in 2013 before leaving for Leinster, says he fully utilised the ''Tigerness'' in the squad to revive Leicester's season and sees Saturday's clash with table-topping Wasps at the Ricoh Arena as another step towards making the club a force once more.

"Given the story of the season and the different philosophies it's been difficult," said O'Connor. "There's been a lot of changes above the playing group and a lot of changes and adjustments that have needed to be made along the way.

"We needed to get a bit more clarity back about what we are and how we do our business and what the way forward for the club is, so to be in the semi-finals again is a big thing.

"But this group is really positive and this is the starting point for this group, not the end point.

"The exciting thing is the 'Tigerness' of it, for want of a better word; there are a lot of guys who have played a lot of games and experienced the highs and lows of the club and won trophies, guys that I have the utmost respect for and confidence in.

"I think it is important that we get back to what the DNA of the club is - w inning. That is the identity I would associate with Tigers. There are a lot of the guys in and around the club that understand that better than anyone.

"We have been building slowly, perhaps we hit a bit of a speed bump in some respects against Worcester last time out, but we will see where we are on Saturday."

Source: PA