Toby Flood: ‘Leicester are lacking confidence and a bit of ambition’

first_imgShare on Messenger Share via Email Read more Since you’re here… Richards chooses not to engage when asked about Leicester’s plight but Flood, at 33, is one of the more articulate players around and his views are worth listening to considering the Tigers’ decline has, to a large extent, coincided with his departure. He was the starting fly-half the last time Leicester won the Premiership title, in 2013, and still has a number of friends at Welford Road, none closer than the head coach, Geordan Murphy – a man who increasingly looks like he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders.“Of course, I find it hard,” he says. “When you’re at Leicester you are affected by the culture of the place, affected by how they operate and how they are and for those years Leicester v Northampton was as big as it got and they were games you won. I think that was the hard thing to watch and I know it hurt Geordie massively.”Understandably, Flood and Murphy have kept their distance this week, such are the stakes on the match on Friday night. “I would have said ‘good luck’ at the end of the call but it would have been a half-arsed thing,” Flood said. “I wanted to speak to him because he’s a good friend but the reality is that we have our own fight to fight.“It’s a stressful time. You don’t play that many games for Leicester and stay there for so long without carrying the weight of fans, of the board, of himself, of the city – he carries that weight and it’s difficult for him. “They’re lacking confidence and lacking a bit of ambition,” says Flood. “They’re making mistakes that you don’t expect from a team with that much quality. They’ll be coming here and they’ll be nervous, but they’ve won a lot of games up here in the last few years. If we start well, then maybe their self-doubt creeps in. Players playing with doubt is a dangerous thing. That’s where they are and that’s where we were at the beginning of the season.“Win the collisions against Leicester and notoriously they don’t like that. They struggle with that.” … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Premiership interviews Share on Twitter “It will be difficult for his family because he’ll carry it home, take it through the front door and have to live with it. I think he’s a really good fit for Leicester. But for whatever reason, it hasn’t clicked this year.”It has not been clicking for a while and Mike Ford’s arrival did little to reverse their fortunes judging by the 52-20 thumping by Exeter last time out. As a demonstration of just how toxic things have become, the 10-times Premiership champions have this week reported “vile and disgusting” abuse on social media directed at players, including the captain, Tom Youngs, and their families to the police.It has been said a lot of late that Leicester have been left behind, back in an era when their unmistakable physicality helped them dominate the English landscape. “With their recruitment they went away from that a little bit,” Flood says. “They were always physically disgusting [to play against]. Look at players that have gone before – Garforth, Rowntree, the Deacon brothers. Those were guys who were always going to give that intimidation factor and to play behind them was always quite nice fun. They still have that, but that no longer works in professional rugby. You can’t just beat a team up in professional rugby because most of your team is going to be sat on the sofa the next week having received a red card the week before.”It must be said Leicester have an impressive record against Newcastle, having lost twice in 18 meetings, but nine defeats in their past 12 matches is a sequence that looms larger. Reuse this content No one feels Leicester are too good to go down – Tigers have lost their way Newcastlecenter_img Leicester Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian England’s Dan Robson out for three months with deep vein thrombosis Topics Share on Facebook Toby Flood could take no more. The east Midlands derby last month was half an hour old but the former Leicester fly‑half turned the TV off and took the dog for a walk. Flood has not played for Leicester for five years but the horror show unfolding in front of him as the Tigers were mauled by Northampton was becoming too much.Flood is not the only former Tiger struggling with current events at Welford Road but his admission is relevant because it is he, as Newcastle’s fly-half and co-captain, who can drive Leicester closer to the brink on Friday night. It is distinctly possible – though scarcely believable – that Leicester find themselves bottom of the Premiership table come Saturday evening. It is an enormous match for both sides – Newcastle are bottom, as they have been for most of the season but Dean Richards, another with a deep-rooted link to Leicester, has the Falcons in a degree of form with three consecutive victories before losing to Saracens last time out. The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Share on Pinterest Rugby unionlast_img

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