Tigers determined to learn from mistakes
December 29, 2008
Harlequins' Tom Williams and Leicester's Toby Flood compete for a high ball during their clash at Twickenham © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers head coach Heyneke Meyer has urged his side learn from their mistakes after letting victory slip from their grasp against Harlequins at Twickenham on Saturday.
Quins snatched a dramatic 26-26 draw with a last-gasp try and conversion to deny the visitors a notable victory - the second time in as many months that the Tigers have suffered in the latter stages of a game having lost to Bath in a similar fashion last month.
Meyer cited a lack of composure and some poor decision making for his side's latest slip-up and insists his side must improve if they are to challenge for honours at the end of the season.
"If you settle for two points away from home, you will never be a champion," he told the Leicester Mercury. "Two points is not too bad but we are disappointed. We need to be in contention at the end of the season and this team is good enough to win it. We needed to be more tactically astute in the second half and finish off the chances that we had.
"The same thing happened against Bath in the last few minutes and we need to learn from our mistakes. That is six points we have thrown away. At 26-19, I thought we should have closed the game down. If you don't kick out or kick badly in this competition, you get killed because most of the tries come from broken play.
"We should have just kicked it out, won the line-out and won the game - but we didn't. If you give these guys half a chance, they will score. Nick Evans is an international player and I expected him to get the kick. We didn't deserve to win it. It's no use wishing to win a game, especially having given away a stupid try like that. Tactically we were not very smart in the last 10 minutes. We let ourselves down, especially with our kicking game and on such a big occasion."
Meyer watched his side battled back from a 9-3 deficit to score 20 unanswered points thanks to converted tries by Tom Croft and Johne Murphy and two Toby Flood penalties. But Quins got the better of the exchanges in the final quarter to the delight of the 50,000 crowd - a record for a Guinness Premiership match.
"We defended superbly in the first half and got a few turnovers. You have to work hard to make them make mistakes and we executed well on those," said Meyer. "Games like this are brilliant for club rugby and the crowd were superb. They went home happy, even though I didn't.
"This (sort of fixture) will get more and more people going to matches. Every game in this competition seems to be 50-50 right to the end. It's a very tough competition. We were still far from where we need to be but, in this competition, you need to peak right at the end. At least we are scoring some good tries and our defence has come a long way."