Leicester Tigers clinched a dramatic victory in last weekend’s East Midlands derby but, according to winger Adam Thompstone, it wasn’t all high-fives and back-slapping afterwards.
The Tigers flew out the blocks at Welford Road on Saturday and within 23 minutes, they had opened up a 21-0 lead over Northampton Saints.
From that point on, however, they didn’t score another try, while the Saints crossed over through Teimana Harrison, George North and former Tiger Jamie Gibson.
Eventually, Freddie Burns won it with a last-gasp penalty to send the Leicester fans home happy, but Thompstone revealed the dressing room was as frustrated as it was relieved.
“For the neutral it was probably very exciting,” he said. “The first 25 minutes was probably the best rugby we have played all season but after that we let Saints back into the game through our own mistakes, which we were pretty disappointed about.
“We needed to control the game but we just slipped off after that first 25 minutes and after the game we felt pretty dejected, even though we won.”
Attentions now turn to the European Rugby Champions Cup, with Leicester hosting Benetton Treviso – without a win in their last 23 games – in Pool 4.
The Tigers are flying in Europe, with four wins in as many games, and Thompstone is eager to ensure they don’t slip up.
“Looking forward to this weekend, we have done well in Europe so far and hopefully we can carry that on,” he continued.
“They are going to have a lot of hurt and come at us. They have been struggling so this is a good opportunity for them to turn their luck around. We expect it to be a tough game and we are preparing well.
“It is very important. It makes a huge difference getting that home quarter-final and it’s something we are aiming for. We just want to focus on this weekend and a win will more or less secure that.”
Inside the Aviva Premiership Rugby top four and going strong in Europe, life is good at Welford Road.
Add to that the news that Telusa Veainu and Matt Smith have signed new contracts – and South Africa winger JP Pietersen is due to join next season – and Thompstone is excited about the future.
“It will be an opportunity for everybody to learn from somebody with great experience,” he said, when asked about Pietersen. “It just shows the aspirations at the club and signing a player of that calibre is always great news.
“It is good to see the boys re-signing too. It has always been competitive here – it’s a great club and there are some great players. It keeps everyone on their toes and moving forward.
“I am just happy to be involved and enjoying playing here. We are playing some exciting rugby and it is just good to be involved.”