Crusaders tamed by young Tigers Sat 12 Jan

Rugby Crusaders Coach Richard Gee has called on his shell-shocked troops to take their hurt out on Rugby St Andrews when the two sides meet in the first round of the Warwickshire Cup on Saturday.

Crusaders were given a salutary lesson in most aspects of the game by a Leicester Development XV, particularly up front, at Oval Park last weekend.

The Tigers ran out 63-5 winners, scoring ten tries to the Crusaders’ one, and Gee hopes to see a response in the cup tie at Webb Ellis Road.

Gee said: “They got taught a lesson, quite a brutal lesson, by what was an Under-20s team.

“I thought we might at least get parity in the forwards because we had a decent pack but I was quite surprised by the size of theirs.

“They were big lads, huge to be fair; very well-drilled and their foot work and speed across the ground was very, very impressive.

“It was exactly what you would expect having watched the Tigers first team: they were in and challenging at every ruck; they were offside and getting away with it. But that’s what Leicester Tigers do and have been very successful at it over the years.

“All I could do was sit back and admire them really; at the end of the day this is the next generation of Leicester and England players.

“Still, I was quite disappointed with our lads because they didn’t front up the way they could have done.

“Hopefully it will be an invaluable lesson to them.”

Gee added:  “My message to them this week will be, ‘you got taught a lesson last week, now it’s your turn to go out and teach someone a lesson.’

“It is their chance for revenge, albeit against stiff opposition, and the chance to get any frustration from last week out of their system.”

Tigers included two players with first team experience in their line-up and took the game to the Crusaders from the first whistle.

It made for unpleasant viewing for Gee and fellow coach Matt Davies, but Crusaders at least grabbed a consolation score seven minutes from time.

Crusaders took a quick tap penalty and the ball was recycled quickly to Beau Carney who crossed the whitewash.

The introduction of Wayne Saunders off the bench and into the back row certainly helped Crusaders address some of their earlier problems at scrum and ruck time, while captain Stewart Pearl led by example throughout.

Gee added: “When he got hit, he picked himself up and just got stuck in again. Sometimes the scrum was going back at a rate of knots but he just kept battling away.

“And to be fair to the team as a whole they showed true fighting spirit and kept going right until the end when they could have easily let their heads drop.”



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