Tigers have their tails up
Tue, 03 Dec 2013 11:09
Montpellier is going to be massive
Leicester lock Louis Deacon and director of rugby Richard Cockerill reckon last week's win at Gloucester will give them momentum heading into their clash with Montpellier.
Cockerill's team were 22-17 victors at Kingsholm in a tense Premiership affair, with a Dan Bowden try and an impressive kicking display from captain Toby Flood seeing them home in the West Country.
Success on the road came after a hard-fought win over London Irish at Welford Road a week earlier and back-to-back Anglo-Welsh Cup wins over the Ospreys and Worcester Warriors and Deacon says the former European Champions will return to continental competition on a high as a result.
"Montpellier is going to be massive so it's good to go into these games in some form," said Deacon, who was a losing European Cup finalist with Leicester in 2007 and 2009.
"We needed that win. There is a good buzz around the changing room. I thought we played a bit more this week than we have for quite a while. I got my hands on the ball, and got my first offload in about 10 years!
"We had let ourselves down a bit in terms of defending and really getting stuck in so that was the focus, trying to put that right. We've challenged each other in training, which is having a good effect and showing in the team. And there are guys coming in, having a run of games and stepping up, which is great," he added.
Leicester have been forced to throw a number of players into the mix given the injury crisis that has hit the club in recent weeks but, like Deacon, Cockerill has been pleased with the way his squad have coped in trying circumstances.
And while the likes of Manu Tuilagi, Geoff Parling and Anthony Allen are still someway from a return to action, the fact that Niki Goneva (calf), Ed Slater (wrist) and Steve Mafi (compassionate leave) could be back for Saturday's home tie with Montpellier is a big boost for the 2001 and 2002 continental kings.
"It was a very important win for us and we have now won the last four games we have played. We will go into Europe this week on the back of a good run and we are likely to have two or three more players back in the mix, which will give us some options," said Cockerill.
"With the injuries we have got, I thought we have dealt with those problems well in the last few weeks. We have not worried about who has been missing, we have just played as hard as we can and picked up some good results.
"If you take 15 players out of any squad, it will affect how you play. We have dealt well with that and the boys knew how important a win at Kingsholm was because it puts us back up into that play-off picture heading into the break for Europe."
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