Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy hailed his side’s battling qualities after they edged out Rugby Calvisano 20-13 in Italy on Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup to move five points clear at the top of Pool 5.

The Italian side stayed within one score for the majority of the match, but couldn’t get any closer as Leicester held on for a fourth win in as many Challenge Cup matches this season.

“We’ve got to learn to win on the road and this was a tough place to come,” Murphy told the Tigers’ official website.

“We looked at this tournament as an opportunity to grow the squad. To come here in tough circumstances against a tough side and grind out the win is good for us.” 

The former Ireland wing admitted that it was far from a classic in tricky conditions against a stubborn Calvisano side.

“It is all part of learning,” Murphy added. “It was a pretty poor game, but we stuck at it and we got the win. Some of the players have not been in this kind of situation before and they can all learn something from it.

“We knew it was going to be difficult with the conditions and the pitch. Calvisano have a big pack and you have to give them full credit for the way they took the pace out of the game. We couldn’t get any tempo into it and I thought they did a really good job. It was 5-3, 8-3 for a huge chunk of the game.

“But we turned over ball too much as well. We gave away a lot of penalties and that is sure to hurt you.”