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Geordan Murphy plays down 'doom and gloom' talk as Leicester reach semi-finals

Geordan Murphy insists it is not all "doom and gloom" at Leicester after they beat Northampton 27-20 to book a place in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals.

Leicester's third successive win in the competition means Gloucester, second in Pool Four, cannot catch them and a last-four spot is a timely boost for the Tigers.

The recent sacking of director of rugby Richard Cockerill - and a 43-0 hammering by Glasgow Warriors in the European Champions Cup - had left Leicester reeling.

Yet while the Tigers are more used to fighting for the Aviva Premiership and the Champions Cup, Murphy was delighted to have beaten the Saints.

The assistant coach said: "I have been here 20 seasons and I don't remember having such a tough run of games. Emotionally, it can wear you down.

"But I believe that if the guys who take to the field play with the passion they did today, we can compete with anyone. It's not all doom and gloom.

"We have got some work to do because we are in a hole. The only way you can get out of the hole is to grab a spade and dig. We will work and get out of that hole."

Leicester, who scored three tries through Will Evans, Dom Barrow and Harry Thacker, led 24-8 with 11 minutes left but had to hold off a late Northampton rally.

Nafi Tuitavake and Rory Hutchinson added to a first-half try by Harry Mallinder but it was too late for the Saints, who face a tough ask making it out of Pool One.

Northampton academy coach Mark Hopley said: "We're disappointed with the way we performed in the first half. We did not get an opportunity to put Leicester under pressure.

"We didn't look after the ball in the contact area and Leicester did a brilliant job on us in that area.

"But in the last 20 minutes we showed what we can do when we get the breakdown right. When we play at tempo we are a handful."

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