Loffreda fears coming up dry

Champions Leicester will put their Premiership play-off hopes on the line on Saturday - against a club they beat to reach last season's Twickenham final. [more]

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Champions Leicester will put their Premiership play-off hopes on the line on Saturday – against a club they beat to reach last season’s Twickenham final.

This time a year ago, Tigers were on the hunt for an unprecedented trophy treble of Premiership, Anglo-Welsh Cup and European Cup.

Only the latter ultimately eluded them, yet the current campaign could prove notable for its total lack of silverware.

It is hardly the start new head coach Marcelo Loffreda would have wanted, but defeat against Welford Road visitors Bristol this weekend would effectively derail Leicester’s top-four hopes.

After Bristol, they face Newcastle and Harlequins on successive weekends – and Loffreda accepts three victories must be recorded.

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He said: "We have three massive games left, and we must win them all if we want to have a chance of qualifying.

"It will depend on other results as well, but we are encouraged by how we finished the second half against Bath on Tuesday night."

Leicester lost 26-12 after trailing by 23 points at half-time in a game rearranged due to Tigers’ Anglo-Welsh Cup final commitments three days earlier.

Loffreda added: "I don’t want to use excuses, but we didn’t want this game (Bath) scheduled like this.

"You can’t play such a big game as that straight after a final, knowing both teams could be fighting for a top-four position.

"But we had to play and we picked two totally different teams. At least it gave other players an opportunity to show us how good they are."

Bath, six points and four places above Leicester, face a stern test at Sixways against a Worcester side that has lost just one of its last five Premiership games.

Head coach Steve Meehan said: "Worcester have relaxed since the threat of relegation was lifted.

"And if we want to build into the Premiership semi-finals and towards the European Challenge Cup semi-final, we have to keep improving.

"We will be looking to play the way we did in the first half of the Leicester game again, because that is the balance we are aiming at.

"If we play with that sort of width and pace all the time, we will trouble any team we come up against."

Surprise play-off package Harlequins head to the Madejski Stadium, where victory over European Cup semi-finalists London Irish would keep them firmly in the title picture.

Bottom club Leeds Carnegie, meanwhile, will be put out of their season-long misery and relegated to National League One if they lose against leaders Gloucester at Kingsholm.

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