Leicester Tigers’ lack of tries has been well-documented this season but scrum-half Sam Harrison believes it is their miserly defence that deserves to be the subject of attention.
Tigers have only scored 25 Aviva Premiership Rugby tries this term, second-fewest in the league and just four more than winless London Welsh.
However, their defence has been a paragon of stinginess with opponents crossing the Leicester whitewash a mere 31 times in 17 games – no other side conceding fewer tries.
That record will be put to the test by a rampant Exeter Chiefs in the LV= Cup semi-final on Sunday – Exeter’s supremely-talented backline capable of causing any team problems.
The Tigers will take a 100 per cent LV= Cup record into that match though, having notched four wins from four, and Harrison insists the competition has been the making of the squad.
“Going into the LV= Cup you never really know how you are going to do because it is always a new team and maybe there are a few lads from the academy,” he said.
“There is always a bit of uncertainty but we have gone from strength to strength, so hopefully we can put the icing on the cake.
“It is probably our defence that has got us to this point, really. In past year we have been good in attack but let ourselves down in defence.
“A lot of the lads have been working very hard – I think we have just put an extra emphasis on it.
“It’s very hard to win games if your defence isn’t good. It’s just a case of lads being willing to put their bodies on the line.”
If Leicester can overcome the Chiefs at Welford Road, they will face either Saracens or Northampton Saints in the LV= Cup final at Franklin’s Gardens next Sunday.
Potentially facing their fierce rivals Northampton on their home turf in the showpiece could be seen as a huge disadvantage but Harrison is adamant it is a clash he would relish.
“There is no better place to play than at home for a semi-final – that’s what the LV= Cup period is all about,” added the 24-year-old.
“If we do win, the final will be a Franklin’s Gardens, possibly against Saints – and there is no better game to win than that.
“I don’t really have a preference who we play, as long as we win – that’s all we are really focused on – but there is that extra bit of excitement if it’s against Northampton.”
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