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Leicester Tigers Julian Salvi: Referees must be consistent


Leicester Tigers flanker Julian Salvi has called for more consistency from referees in the wake of the club's large penalty count this season.

The Aussie openside was not hiding away from the fact that several of Leicester's penalties in games against Saracens and Harlequins were "silly mistakes".

But he says that the players' job of reading what a referee will allow and, will not allow, during any specific game is becoming harder and harder.

"It would be good to get consistency across the board," said the 26-year-old on the eve of today's Aviva Premiership clash with Exeter Chiefs.

"You always have to adjust during the game to what they are allowing.

"You can do something that's fine and then you get penalised for the same thing the next time you do it.

"If they could be a bit more forward in their communication and make certain things clearer, as a player, it makes things a lot easier."

Reducing that penalty count has been a major focus at Leicester Tigers' Oval Park training ground, in Oadby, this week.

Against Saracens at Wembley Stadium a fortnight ago, Tigers would have come home empty-handed had fly-half Owen Farrell not missed four out of five make-able kicks in the first half of the 9-9 draw.

And in the 22-9 defeat at Welford Road by Harlequins last week, Tigers were heavily punished by referee Dave Pearson and then Quins' kicker Nick Evans made them pay with the boot as they consistently infringed.

"Last weekend, I got a few steals early on and thought I was right for a third one, only to get penalised." said Salvi, who has been in superb form this term.

"If you give penalties away early, it lets you know what is appropriate and also what is not.

"But if you don't, it can take time to adapt.

"Sometimes, you get done for something you have been doing all game.

"It can take a good half-a-game to feel your way through and see what you can get away with.

"All referees officiate differently – but if they could become more consistent, it would make it easier for all of us opensides.

"You have to go into games asking how they are going to referee it. And even then, it is sometimes different in reality!"

Tim Wigglesworth in the man in the middle today as Salvi starts his fifth game of the season.

The Aussie admits his side will have to improve their attitude against a visiting side that did the double over Leicester last season.

"We didn't lack desire last week but we thought that we could just go out there and win by playing the way we had been playing.

"You can't do that against a quality side," admitted a disappointed Salvi.

"We said that we have to be a lot more accountable in training and make sure that we do all our jobs right and don't go into games lacklustre.

"It's a different focus on Exeter.

"They like to use their strike runners like Sereli Neqelevuki and use their forwards around the corner.

"The onus is there to shut them down and slow down the ball by tackling them backwards.

"We were disappointed to lose twice to them last year and we know the type of game that they bring.

"They have good players and are doing well again in the Premiership.

"As long as we can shut down their runners and make it a nightmare at the breakdown for them, we will be alright," added Salvi.

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