Richard Wigglesworth says, like his players, he is focused on finding improvements in his own performance ahead of the second fixture in charge of Leicester Tigers.
Speaking mid-week from Mattioli Woods Welford Road, where the side held their final squad session ahead of Friday night’s trip north to face Sale Sharks in Round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership, Wigglesworth said he had taken learnings from his debut match in the top job.
“I just want to learn as quickly as I can, properly, so I can be as good as I possibly can for this group,” he said.
“I am so fortunate to have such good people around me and having had learned from a great coach in Steve [Borthwick] and watch him do his thing.
“There is definitely stuff I could have done better at the first game and, like when you are a player, you look at your performance, learn and improve for the next game.”
Discussing the different challenges he now faces from the coaches box, which weren’t as prevalent on the pitch, he added: “There are some very different and some very similar challenges, I am fortunate to have had the period of being both player and coach so it isn’t all a surprise for me in this role.”
“I mean one example is that we are now out on the road for a month without a game at home for four weeks, which I probably wouldn’t have considered as a player – living so week to week – but as a coach need to ensure we’re planning around that.”
Tigers trip north in the final fixture of 2022 is followed by an away game against Newcastle Falcons in Round 15 before a return to European action in France against Clermont, before hosting Ospreys in Leicester 27 days after the last appearance at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
Asked about the lengthy period in between home games, the Tigers Head Coach said the Leicester support made it easier.
“We haven’t had many games at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this season, but it’s another challenge and as a group, we take them head on and we’ll do the same for the next four weeks on the road,” he said.
“Luckily, our travelling support is like no other and so it won’t feel like we are alone in the next four weeks – wherever we are playing.”
Having recorded a victory in his first game in charge – against Gloucester on Christmas Eve – Wigglesworth was quizzed on whether he would be trying to add more of his personality to the squad as he got more comfortable in the coaches chair.
“It’s not about my personality being all over the team,” said Wigglesworth.
“It’s about our personality as a coaching group, as players, all having an influence on who we are and what we do.
“The team are going to take this club forward in the best way we can, as a group, it will not be about any individual.”
His first Tigers side was missing a few familiar faces, ruled out through injury, of which the Head Coach said could be the case on Friday night but – like every week – each playing carrying an injury would be assessed “individually” and managed accordingly.
“We don’t send anyone out before they’re right, it’s an absolute non-negotiable for us,” said Wigglesworth.
“Everybody has got the challenge, across the league, of blokes with bumps and bruises, so we aren’t any different in that regard.
“We’ll continue to assess all those who have got knocks, on an individual basis and make the call with each player once they are good to go.”
A Premiership winner with Friday night’s opponents, Wigglesworth said he had “fond” memories of his time at the club and was not surprised by their impressive form so far during the current league campaign.
“I have incredibly fond memories of my time at Sale Sharks and some of my best friends are from that time I spent at the club,” he said.
“They are a very well-organised team, who are well coached and it’s no surprise to me that they are one of the form teams of the Premiership.
“I think we can all see that they are going to be up there this season at the top of the pile.”