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Smith: Leicester Tigers know how to get it done


Leicester Tigers may have made a virtue of winning ugly at times this season but Matt Smith admits his side will take victories any way they come in pursuit of the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals.

A 22-6 defeat to Saracens last time out ended a run of five consecutive Aviva Premiership Rugby triumphs for Richard Cockerill’s side that has carried them to the brink of the top four.

Despite that winning streak, the Tigers have scored the second-lowest amount of tries in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season, with Smith himself also yet to cross over.

While the utility back admits both he and his side want to put that right in their final three games against London Welsh, Wasps and Northampton Saints, the 29-year-old insists securing the win comes first.

And with Leicester able to draw on a vast amount of experience in a squad full of former Premiership winners, Smith is confident his side will still have a final say on this year’s tournament.

“It was obviously a bit disappointing to just be watching the games at the weekend as you want to be playing in them but we took a week to freshen up as we had a lot of sore guys after the Saracens game,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have won two or three Premiership titles so we know what it takes and we need to use that experience.

“We’re not looking too far ahead of this weekend before we refocus on Wasps, who are used to playing in these big games in Europe, then we’ll have the big local derby with Saints on the last day.

“Not scoring tries is not the kind of thing I dwell on too much as it’s all about helping the team but for whatever reason it hasn’t happened for myself and the team this year.

“Hopefully we can play some more attacking rugby in these last few games but we take victories any way them come.”

Leicester’s cause has been undermined by long-term injuries to the likes of Anthony Allen, Manu Tuilagi and Miles Benjamin, while Smith believe his team have coped laudably well with having to constantly field different back lines.

But with the added boost of high-profile signings Peter Betham and Mike Fitzgerald from Super Rugby sides Waratahs and Chiefs respectively, Smith insists the Tigers will remain a force for years to come.

“Obviously it’s been very difficult with so many backs out injured and we’ve not been able to go more than two or three games with the same back line,” he added.

“We train with each other to get the combinations going but just haven’t been able to be constant in our selection.

“With only three games to go it’s going to be tricky to get any of the guys back for a run of games so we’ll just make do.

“Traditionally we’ve had some big names coming from the Southern Hemisphere so it’s great to have these two new signings.

“Those players always give the club a different outlook and some fresh ideas and there are plenty of guys who’ve been here a long time so them coming in can only be a good thing.”
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