Geordan Murphy makes case for the defence after Leicester win Anglo-Welsh Cup

19 March 2017 05:53

Leicester assistant coach Geordan Murphy praised a "heroic defence" as the Tigers withstood a fierce late onslaught to win the Anglo-Welsh Cup for the third time following a 16-12 victory over Exeter at the Stoop.

Leicester became the first side to record a hat-trick of wins in the competition, following their triumphs in 2007 and 2012. Freddie Burns was the hero as he kicked 11 points with three penalties and a conversion, with a Tom Brady interception try completing the Tigers' scoring.

James Short and Sam Simmonds scored Exeter's tries, with Will Hooley converting one. However, young outside half Joe Simmonds missed three straightforward kicks, ultimately costing the Chiefs the game.

Murphy said: "The guys have been passionate and committed throughout this tournament and some of the defensive shots that went in during the final quarter were fantastic. There was real ferocity in the tackle and it was some heroic defence at the end."

Murphy's coaching colleague Richard Blaze added: "Exeter bullied us in the league at our place but today we never gave an inch and we stopped them at source by winning most of the 50-50s.

"The tournament has been all about hard work and commitment and Leicester is built on tradition and winning stuff so success today was important to take the club forward."

Fly-half Burns, who leaves the club for Bath at the end of the season, said: "I'm off at the end of the year but I have a lot of friends here so it was nice to put some silverware in the cabinet and get an early trophy.

"It was a tough day by place-kicking into the wind and a couple of mine just scraped over but we didn't really push on in the second half, which made it difficult for us at the end."

Exeter assistant coach Ricky Pellow conceded that Leicester deserved to win.

He said: "We gave them too much of a lead as they were able to wrestle the momentum away from us.

"We threw everything at them in the second half but we couldn't break them down early enough. They must take great credit as they deserved to win by withstanding all our pressure in the second half.

"We are disappointed but the young players will learn a lot from this and we need to reset ahead of next's week game against Sale, which is massive for us."

Source: PA