The pressure of playing in front of a packed Welford Road and the high expectations of supporters have forced Leicester Tigers to up their game according to Lachlan McCaffrey.
The Tigers lost their first Aviva Premiership Rugby home game of the season 34-22 to Wasps and despite wins on the road at Newcastle Falcons and Gloucester Rugby have not been at their best.
And the Leicester No.8 hopes that the side have begun to click after their three-try win over historic rivals Bath Rugby at the weekend as they attempt to put the demons of a poor display against Wasps to bed.
“It was definitely the best overall performance this season,” McCaffrey said.
“There was pressure from our supporters and within the group we had pressure on ourselves, we responded really well as a club to that pressure.
“It’s not just the history with Bath but that pride we have of playing at Welford Road, we are very thankful for the support we have the best crowd, it means a lot to us.
“There’s pressure too, we have to play good rugby and find a way to win. We were off that against Wasps and hopefully that does not happen again.”
With coach Aaron Mauger’s influence continuing to improve the Tigers’ ability with ball in hand, it was a strong physical display from the pack that caught many observers’ eyes on Sunday.
And McCaffrey admitted the squad are still finding the balance between expansive and flamboyant back play and the old-school front-five style of play Leicester are renowned for.
The Tigers face Sale Sharks this weekend and the former London Welsh back rower is expecting another physical match at the AJ Bell Stadium.
“We are realising to play that (expansive) style you have to get dominant up front and be on the front foot.
“The main thing is the forwards have to front up and if we do our job with the set piece and our carries then the backs can play some exciting football.
“I didn’t get to play up there (AJ Bell) last year but I did at home and we lost home and away which we were really disappointed with.
“They are a very good team. It’s looking quite wet so it’s going to be a physical battle up front, we have to make sure we prepare things right.”