Richard Cockerill praises Tigers for Premiership fightback win over Gloucester
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill praised his players for "getting themselves out of a very big hole" after they recorded a spectacular Aviva Premiership fightback victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Scotland international centre Matt Scott scored two tries on his Premiership debut, while wings Charlie Sharples and Henry Purdy also touched down as Gloucester cruised into a 31-7 lead five minutes after half-time.
Skipper Greig Laidlaw added 11 points from the boot, but Leicester stayed in the contest through tries by England centre Manu Tuilagi, South Africa wing JP Pietersen and scrum-half Sam Harrison, before flanker Brendon O'Connor crossed four minutes from time and then Harrison's injury-time effort left Gloucester in ruins.
Freddie Burns converted three tries and kicked a penalty, while Harrison added two conversions after Burns went off to secure an unlikely 38-31 bonus-point triumph as Tigers scored 31 unanswered points in 33 second-half minutes.
"We played so poorly in the first 45 minutes, to say the least," Cockerill said. "We conceded cheap points, we couldn't execute anything. It was pretty average.
"Then, we decided we would hold on to the ball and do what we practised. Credit to the players, their resilience and the stuff we worked on came through.
"We have got the capability of scoring tries. When our mentality is right, and we put that into action, we are a team that can compete.
"Credit to the players for getting themselves out of a very big hole they dug for themselves, but that first-half wasn't good enough and we need to be a lot better."
Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys could scarcely conceal his anger after seeing his team implode in such abysmal fashion as Leicester made it eight wins from the last nine league starts against the west country club.
"I haven't experienced a game where there was such a difference between the first and second-half performances," Humphreys said.
"Everything we did well in the first-half, we did badly in the second-half.
"We gave away too many penalties, and Leicester took advantage of every opportunity.
"The bottom line is it's not acceptable when you lead 31-7 at home, and then lose the game.
"It was a long final 30 minutes. We knew Leicester would come back into the game, and it was about us having that composure and somehow changing the momentum of the game.
"We are all pretty emotional immediately after the game. You know Leicester are a good team, but you also believe we have the quality to win that game."