Sebastian de Chaves believes Leicester Tigers’ LV= Cup win over Northampton Saints illustrates the importance of securing a home semi-final.
The second East Midlands derby of the season attracted a 24,000 sell-out crowd to Welford Road on Saturday, with a young Tigers outfit triumphing 17-8 to maintain their unbeaten run in the tournament.
And de Chaves admits the partisan atmosphere can be pivotal in such a competitive tournament – one they may be targeting amidst an up-and-down campaign.
“It always helps to have the home crowd behind you, they love this competition and it was always going to be a sell-out when we play Northampton Saints, whether it’s at their place or ours,” he said.
“Of course they knew the boys have been doing well, so it’s quite exciting.
“Yes, we are almost through, but our new challenge is to secure a home semi-final and then we’re in a really strong position.”
The LV= Cup is often seen as a breeding ground for young talent, with the likes of England trio Jonny May, George Ford and Jonathan Joseph all nominated for the tournament’s Breakthrough Player Award in a single season.
That is a factor which de Chaves appreciates, with many of Leicester’s young stars providing some impressive displays in this season’s tournament.
“It’s nice for the boys on the fringe of the squad, who have not been getting much game time, who feel like they might have a bit of a point to prove,” he continued.
“It’s massive for the whole club, particularly so for the younger players, who haven’t had much time on the pitch, but will get to say they have contributed to bringing some silverware back to the club.
“These young boys really want to push on and we’ve got the goal this week of securing a home semi-final. We want to keep our momentum going.
“The first team have had a mixed bag of results lately, win one week and drop off the next, so we have to focus on putting back-to-back wins together to get that winning feeling back in the dressing room.”
The second-row forward also admitted relishing his first competitive try for the Tigers, a score that gave the hosts an early advantage.
“I’ve been waiting a while for that try,” he added.
“I got one in a friendly last year, but it’s nice to get off the mark this season. Fortunately there is no real demand for me to score!”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.