Leicester delivered the resilient performance Aaron Mauger had requested in his final match as head coach to earn a victory that revived their play-off hopes.
Despite the disappointment of being sacked last Monday, Mauger was determined to leave Welford Road with his head held high. A fourth win in six Premiership matches in his brief spell in charge leaves Leicester handily-placed for Matt O’Connor, who will take the hot seat for the final two months of the season.
“I spoke to the players on Tuesday,” said Leicester captain Tom Youngs. “I got them in early and said: Mauge doesn’t want sympathy. He wants us to go out and win for him and for us and to get us back in the top four. That’s exactly what we did.”
“It’s obviously sad to see Aaron go but we will welcome Matt now. He will bring his wealth of experience and knowledge of the game. We wish Aaron and his family all the best. He’s a top guy, a very, very good coach and I’m sure he will do great things in the game.
“He is a good guy. He does care. He wears his heart on his sleeve, like many coaches do. He was a bit choked up afterwards but he will go on to bigger and greater things.
“This will be a little knock back for him but he will show resilience, which he talks about, and he will come back stronger.”
Leicester have also emerged stronger from a chaotic season that has seen them part company with three coaches – defence coach Scott Hansen and director of rugby Richard Cockerill went before Mauger – but win the Anglo-Welsh Cup, their first trophy in four years.
“We could have made all the excuses in the world to go out there and lose that game today after the week we have had and the previous times we have had coaches go, disruptive as it is,” Youngs said. “But, actually, we have a good group of guys who are in it for the right reasons.”