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Are Leicester Tigers now third best side in league? Ian Cockerill's Standpoint column

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Sadly, the Premiership fixture computer once again managed to throw up what should have been one of the matches of the season during the Six Nations, although I suppose the money men will point to the fact that the Twickenham Stoop was sold out inspite of leading players being missing.

As it was, Tigers received back Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood and Thomas Waldrom, while Harlequins, as it turned out most significantly of all, got Danny Care.

Many Tigers' fans would have secretly celebrated the absence of Nick Evans from the Harlequins line-up, but his replacement Ben Botica kicked his points, which was, in the end, all that was required.

While the Harlequins off-loading style is certainly easy on the eye, the Tigers' defence was impressive throughout.

Generally speaking, the pressure applied was equal to the attacking threat from Harlequins.

Equally, two tries in the plus column was a decent return, particularly the excellent effort by Adam Thompstone with a pleasing assist from Flood, whose clever chip through the defence revealed a little used string to the fly-half's bow.

Meanwhile, however, the Tigers complete inability to play Wayne Barnes, the referee, eventually lost the game to the kicking of Botica.

The damage wrought by the penalty count can't be overstated as attacking opportunities were lost at one end and points conceded at the other.

Difficult as it is, given Barnes' apparent position of pre-eminence in English refereeing, this has to be dealt with.

Next week will be key. I fear, given Saracens' excellent win against a decent Exeter team this week, that it may be confirmed that the Tigers are currently the third best team in the Premiership.

Are Leicester Tigers now third best side in league? Ian Cockerill's Standpoint column


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