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'I feel like I've been punched in the face quite a few times,' says Geordan Murphy after Leicester low-point

Tonight’s 54-7 defeat to Wasps comes as the worst of the Irishman’s Welford Road career.

Leicester's Geordan Murphy (file pic).
Leicester's Geordan Murphy (file pic).
Image: Mike Egerton

LEICESTER TIGERS DIRECTOR of Rugby Geordan Murphy says that tonight’s 54-7 thrashing defeat by Wasps is the worst defeat of his Welford Road career.

The hammering at the Ricoh Arena continues a miserable win for Leicester, who have recorded just one win in the last seven matches.

And it was a massive low-point for former Ireland fullback Murphy, after 23 years at the club as a player, coach and official.

“That’s a step backwards for us and isn’t good enough,” he said afterwards. “I would speculate that every fan who is hugely disappointed and feeling sick is probably nowhere near as sick as myself and the coaching group are.

I’ve been here a very long time and that’s the biggest defeat I’ve been involved in. It’s not pretty and I feel like I’ve been punched in the face quite a few times.

“We have to learn the lessons because we have a four-day turnaround and we must somehow get back on the horse because that wasn’t good enough. It’s my responsibility. I feel pretty poor.

“It’s a bitter pill. We’ve made some really positive progress in every game we’ve played but there’s an opportunity to learn some big lessons there because we were sub standard in the second half.”

Wasps’ 19-year-old Alfie Barbeary, unusually picked at flanker instead of hooker, scored three tries in 16 minutes in the club-record English Premiership win over Leicester.

The Coventry-based side move within two points of third-placed Bristol Bears with the victory as Tigers remain 11th after their heaviest ever league defeat.

Alfie had an outstanding second half. As an out-and-out rugby player, he’s pretty good. He’s a big project and he’s nowhere near the finished article,” Wasps head coach Lee Blackett said.

“We’re trying to manage him by picking him in the back row. He’s a young kid and it takes time to come through in the front row positions, but we’ll keep working on the hooker side of his game,” he added.

Tigers opened the scoring through lock Cameron Henderson’s converted try after four minutes but the remaining 76 were dominated by the hosts.

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Ex-All Black Malakai Fekitoa, fly-half Jacob Umaga and prop Tom West crossed before Barbeary’s first touchdown on 41 minutes.

The England U20s forward then added two more before the 61-minute mark and replacement Sam Spink and winger Zach Kibirige dotted down within the last quarter.

Elsewhere, league leaders Exeter Chiefs secured a play-off spot by beating Gloucester 35-22, and champions Saracens, who will be relegated for salary cap breaches, lost 24-17 at Sale Sharks who above the Bears rose to second.

Later, Fiji’s Josh Matavesi scored 15 points as Bath kept Wasps on their toes with a 40-15 hammering of Worcester and 21-year-old fly-half Marcus Smith went over twice in Harlequins’ 38-15 victory over capital city rivals London Irish.

© – AFP, 2020

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