When Leicester Tigers’ Aviva Premiership campaign was a struggle, the LV= Cup lifted spirits at Welford Road and put them back on the right track.
And now things are ticking along nicely in the league, Tommy Bell believes they can carry that momentum back into knockout rugby.
Leicester kicked off their LV= Cup campaign in November off the back of three straight Premiership defeats, but a young side earned a battling 17-16 win at London Irish to halt the slide.
Since then they have lost just twice in 12 league outings, as well as winning each of their other three LV= Cup pool clashes, and host reigning champions Exeter Chiefs this weekend with a place in the final – at Franklin’s Gardens on March 22 – at stake.
And full-back Bell – a nominee for the LV= Breakthrough Player of the Year award – believes there is a winning feeling around Welford Road at the moment.
“The LV= Cup, at the start, helped our Premiership campaign get back on track,” he recalled.
“The squad that came into the LV= put some performances in and it put pressure on everyone. There were a lot of younger players, especially in the first two games, and they really put a shift in.
“Now we are going well in the Premiership and we go back into the LV= Cup – it’s just about keeping that momentum going.
“Going down to Irish, they had a really experienced team out and we went down there knowing it was going to be a tough one.
“That gave us a real boost of confidence, knowing we could go down to London and put in that performance.
“Exeter are a great team with a great squad and they did really well last year to win it – it’s going to be tough.
“It’s obviously a little bit better that we are playing at home – that’s going to be a bit of an advantage. It’s a huge crowd here and they always get behind you.
“Coming and playing here for other teams at Welford Road, it is not always the best scenario. The crowd are straight on your backs and it’s awesome.”
And Bell is hoping to show more of the form that saw him nominated for the Breakthrough Player award following Leicester’s 43-9 thrashing of Cardiff Blues last month.
“It’s a nice compliment – I found out on Twitter after the game,” he added.
“It is really nice to be nominated for that but the job is not done. There is a lot more to go.”
Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final are selling faster than this time last year so with just six rounds to go, now’s the time to click here to book your place at the world’s biggest club rugby final.