Richards - second title would be bigger achievement
As Leicester moved within a win of their second consecutive Allied Dunbar Premiership by beating Harlequins on Saturday, coach Dean Richards conceded that a second title win would be more satisfying than the first.
"Because of the disruptions early on, I think this would be a bigger achievement if we won the title this year," he said. "To maintain what we've got has been very difficult with the injuries we have had and the distractions of the world cup. I wouldn't say that we are a better side than we were last year. In some quarters we offer more and in some less."
Leicester scored after just 90 seconds through Austin Healey but were made to work hard by a Quins side playing for pride. They eventually wore down their opponents and further scores from Geordan Murphy (2), Dave Lougheed (2), replacements Craig Joiner (2) and Neil Stimpson ensured a comfortable win. Rob Liley replied with a try for the home side and Richards admitted he did not expect such a runaway success: "I thought the scoreline would have been a lot closer because of the early pressure."
The Tigers coach was quick to warn his side that victory over Bristol next weekend will not be easy. He added: "Bristol are one of the sides that were tipped to be at the top at the beginning of the season. They've got flair, good players and plenty of potential. They won't be easy."
And Richards' opposite number, Harlequins director of rugby John Gallagher, believes Leicester's nearest challengers Bath are not out of contention for the title yet with the two sides due to meet on the final day of the season. Gallagher said: "I think if Leicester lose at Bristol then Bath will be favourites. Leicester made quite a few mistakes in the first half and we cut them open two or three times but didn't make good use of it."