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Tigers 'in with a fighting chance'

Mon, 14 Jan 2013 08:42
Richard-cockerill-frowns Richard-cockerill-looks
We know they have got the class in their team to go anywhere and win
Quote-end

Coach Richard Cockerill insists Leicester Tigers can maul Toulouse at Welford Road to reach the European Cup quarterfinals.

The English club trail the French giants by two points in Pool Two after drawing with the Ospreys in Swansea on Sunday.

They appeared on course to march to the top of the group with second-half tries from Ben Youngs and Niall Morris but the Welsh region snatched a draw thanks to Jonathan Spratt's late intervention.

Cockerill was frustrated with the result at the Liberty Stadium but he is confident his side can still reach the last eight.

"It was a very tight game, an arm-wrestle but we got back into the game and to lead, with three or four minutes to go, was probably an achievement," said the Tigers director of rugby.

"Ospreys played very, very well. They were very good and, if they had won, we couldn't have complained.

"But we are good at taking the punches and rolling with them. We made some poor decisions playing-wide but, mentally, we did not get flustered. We knew we would get opportunities. I would never question the character or conviction of this side.

"We are disappointed we didn't win after taking the lead but we have set up a winner-takes-all match with Toulouse at Welford Road next weekend," he said.

The Tigers boss said that confidence levels in his team are high and they have the belief to take on and beat the four-times champions at Welford Road.

"We are good enough to beat anybody. We will always back ourselves at Welford Road and we have won away at Munster and Leinster at the knockout stage.

"Toulouse are a very good side. They are like us, they haven't been playing their best but know how win games.

"We know they have got the class in their team to go anywhere and win but never say never. We are in with a fighting chance," he said.

Both Manu Tuilagi and Tom Youngs hobbled off in the second-half of the thrilling clash in south Wales but Cockerill dismissed any fears and is confident they will be available for next week's clash.

"Manu Tuilagi has got a bit of a tweak to an ankle while Tom Youngs had cramp. I expect them both to be fine."

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