rugby union: Only way is up for Sheffield Tigers

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Sheffield Tigers head coach Dan Richmond insists his side have taken another positive step forward as they moved to within a point of escaping the relegation zone.

The Tigers beat Leicester Lions 27-21 on Saturday despite trailing 14-0 at one point to record back-to-back home victories for the first time this season.

The result keeps them third from bottom but moves them to 26 points and Richmond believes his team have the strength in depth to move out of the bottom three.

He said: “There are a lot of positives coming from the Tigers.

“The squad is in a healthy position, players are taking opportunities that come from hard work in training and that allows me to rotate the squad where I see fit.

“It was an efficient performance against Leicester which is what we need in winter conditions so credit to the boys – it’s another positive step forward.

“What’s really pleasing as a coach is to see the team not panic, stick to the systems and execute the game plan which allowed us to turn the momentum of the game.

“The squad have applied themselves to wanting to approve so it’s no surprise the team can handle a setback like we suffered against Leicester and turn it around.

“The bench that came on in the second half took a strong step forward and there were some clear positive impacts from the likes of Ben Parker, Ed Simmons and the rest.

“Everyone’s hungry and wants to get an opportunity and I don’t think we have been in a healthier position than we are at this time.”

After losing their opening seven games, the Tigers’ form has improved and they have won two of their last three.

Prior to Saturday’s win against Leicester, they had played consecutive games against three sides in the top five, beating Sedgley Park and narrowly losing out to Macclesfield and Chester.

Next week they travel to third place Stourbridge and Richmond is confident his side can learn from their recent defeats to the top sides and cause an upset.

He added: “There were questions being asked of us when we went to Macclesfield and look what happened there.

“Recently we’ve played three of the top five clubs and come away with six points so what does that tell you?

“We have evolved as a group, the confidence is high and it’s another exciting challenge.

“We were unlucky the game crumbled away from us against Macclesfield but we know why, we know the areas we need to address and that’s the beauty of league rugby.

“There’s never any fear going away from home. We’re going to focus on what we do well.

“Of course our home form will be important as we bid for survival and picking up points is the key. We were unlucky not to come away from Macclesfield with a win.

“But the players are learning from those experiences and they are now able to close games out for the win.”

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