Leicester Tigers’ director of rugby Richard Cockerill was not getting carried away but is confident his side have taken a step in the right direction after their 34-14 victory over Bath Rugby.
The Tigers are still behind their old rivals in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table after inflicting the first defeat of the season on Bath, but remain inside the top four.
Owen Williams kicked 17 points at Welford Road on Sunday with Brendon O’Connor, captain Tom Youngs and replacement Ed Slater scoring the tries.
And Cockerill admitted he enjoyed the return of some traditional Leicester Tigers rugby with a performance built around a strong display up front.
“The performance was pretty good. It was a proper Leicester performance, which is the first time in four weeks,” he said.
“We did not let Bath into the game and we never looked like losing. The passion for playing in a Leicester shirt was right up there today.
“A few questions had been asked, inside and outside the club, about how we are trying to play. I thought the balance was good, our physicality and mentality, as well as our skills.
“We had a poor start to the season performance-wise, although not points-wise. We had not played anywhere near how we would like.
“Today was a step in the right direction.”
Meanwhile for Bath Rugby, tries from Semesa Rokuduguni and a late consolation score for Tom Dunn weren’t enough to prevent them slipping to their worst away defeat since December 2012.
And new director of rugby Todd Blackadder believes his developing side will have learned plenty of lessons from their Welford Road experience despite failing to pick up a losing bonus point.
“I’ve no complaints about the result. It was a really good game,” he said.
“We probably tried too hard at times and it cost us. We’ll learn a lot of lessons from this, but I’m really proud of the effort the team put in today.
“We were on the road and we turned up mentally, we just got beaten, that’s all. It was a really good test, a real arm wrestle, which is probably what we needed.
“I thought we fronted up and put in a lot of effort today, just our skill execution let us down at times. It wasn’t where we needed it to be.”
Leicester Tigers: Veainu, Thompstone, Betham, Tait, Pietersen (Roberts 41), Williams, B Youngs (Harrison 64), Ayerza (Genge 51), T Youngs (McGuigan 72), Cole (Bateman 66), Fitzgerald (Slater 62), Kitchener, Williams (Burns 68), O’Connor, McCaffrey (Evans 76)
Bath Rugby: Homer, Rokoduguni, Banahan, Bowden (Brew 43), Watson, Ford, Fotuali’I (W Homer 72), Catt (Obano 63), Batty (Dunn 55), Thomas (Lahiff 63), Attwood (Stooke 52), Ewels, Garvey, Ellis, Houston (Mercer 62)
Subs not used: Williams
Tries: O’Connor, T Youngs, Slater
Cons: Williams, Burns
Pens: Williams 5
Tries: Rokodouguni, Dunn
Cons: Ford 2
Referee: Matthew Carley