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European Rugby Champions Cup Round-Up: Cockerill urges Leicester Tigers to go again

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill admits he was delighted to defeat Toulon in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday – but challenged his players to go out and do it again next week in France.

The Tigers beat the defending champions 25-21 at Welford Road to give their chances of reaching the quarter-finals a shot in the arm.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby outfit led 13-0 after a try by lock Brad Thorn but Toulon were level at half-time following winger Bryan Habana's score.

Drew Mitchell gave Toulon the lead but three Owen Williams penalties secured the Tigers' victory to move them within a point of their French opponents, who they face again next Saturday.

“I’m delighted with the victory, but I’m not so delighted with some of the cheap points we gave them but you can’t criticise the players for their effort and the win is what we needed,” said Cockerill.

“We’ve got to go and do it again now but at least we’ve given ourselves a chance.

“In isolation this was a big night for us. We had some dominance at scrum, they’ll look at the video and they’ll be hurting and come back at us with double the efforts.

“But the group, from 1-15, were great and the bench made a huge difference as well.”

Elsewhere, Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea hailed a solid start to their European campaign after Sunday’s 24-18 victory over Leinster.

Quins remain on target for a quarter-final place after a strong second half – the score was 9-9 at half-time after three penalties apiece.

But Nick Easter and Asaeli Tikoirotuma scored tries after the break as Quins remained unbeaten in the competition.

“We've not hit our straps but it's only half-time in Europe,” said O’Shea.

"It's a great start, we know what's coming next week at Leinster. They're a great side so I'm really proud."

Harlequins’ Pool 2 rivals Wasps also have a chance of progressing after their 32-17 win over Castres in France.

The visitors led 15-14 at half-time but a late penalty try and a score by Sailosi Tagicakibau sealed a vital bonus-point triumph for Wasps.

They are now third, five points behind Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Harlequins, ahead of hosting Castres next Sunday.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: "We're very happy. Castres are a great side. They aren't having a great season, but they're normally up there in the Top 14, so to come here and get a victory is very special.

"This pool is very, very difficult. We've got a long way to go before we worry about qualifying. We've got to play Castres next week at home, which will be a very difficult game.”

On Saturday, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admitted it took a performance of grit and determination to hold off Sale Sharks as the Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals clashed.

Sarries headed north to the AJ Bell Stadium knowing that nothing less than a victory would suffice if they wanted to have any hope of making it out of a Pool that includes Clermont and Munster.

But Sale almost played the role of party poopers to perfection as tries from Magnus Lund and Andrei Ostrikov gave McCall's men a real fright.

However, scores from Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola, plus some expert game management from the former in slotting a penalty and a drop goal late on, held off an energetic Sharks side to eventually triumph 19-15.

And after being dropped by England during the autumn internationals, it was the form of Farrell that most impressed his director of rugby.

"Owen Farrell's a brilliant young player. He comes back to the club and he understands that he's not played much rugby this year," he said.

"With Charlie Hodgson off injured, it was wonderful to have someone of Owen's calibre to see us home.”

Elsewhere defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Northampton Saints impressed in claiming a bonus-point win in Treviso that keeps them well in contention to progress to the knockout stages.

Saints ran in six tries in all in a 38-15 win – Alex Waller, Samu Manoa, Ben Foden, Luther Burrell and George Pisi all crossing the whitewash in addition to a penalty score.

Stephen Myler also added four conversions and forward coach Dorian West was impressed with his side's effort.

"When you come to these places your forwards have got to be ruthless, you have to work hard and take the energy out of their defence," he said.

"We knew it was going to be tough, especially early on. They are a good side with some really good players.”

On Friday, Bath Rugby may have surged to an impressive away triumph over Montpellier in the European Rugby Champions Cup but head coach Mike Ford admits his side could rue not securing a vital bonus point.

The Aviva Premiership Rugby outfit dominated the hosts in muddy conditions at the Altrad Stadium on Friday night to claim a 30-5 victory and maintain the pressure on Pool 4 rivals Glasgow Warriors and Toulouse.

Henry Thomas powered over for Bath's first try before Montpellier, who had three men sin-binned during the game, conceded a penalty try to make it 23-0 at the interval.

Bath added a third through Leroy Houston on 50 minutes as England fly-half George Ford took his tally to 15 points but were unable to find a fourth despite the introduction of Sam Burgess for his European debut.

And Ford is adamant they will show no mercy in search of a bonus-point victory in the return fixture at the Rec next week to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive.

"I thought we were excellent in the first half, we built a score and got a couple of tries right before the break and we were really on top," he said.

"I unleashed the bench after 50 minutes and I thought we had enough time to get that bonus point. We are unbelievably frustrated that the game turned so scrappy.”
 
 
SUNDAY
 
Leicester 25 Toulon 21 
 
Leicester
Tries: Thorn
Conversions: Williams
Penalties: Williams 6
 
Toulon
Tries: Habana, Mitchell
Conversions: Sanchez
Penalties: Sanchez 3
 
Attendance: 22,114
Referee: Nigel Owens
 
 
Harlequins 24 Leinster 18
 
Harlequins
Tries: Easter, Tikoirotuma
Conversions: Swiel
Penalties: Evans, Swiel 2
Drop goals: Care
 
Leinster
Penalties: Madigan 6
 
Attendance: 14,800
Referee: Jerome Garces
 
 
 
Castres 17 Wasps 32
 
Castres
Tries: Bonello, Lamerat
Conversions: Kockott 2
Penalties: Dumora
 
Wasps
Tries: Miller, Hughes, penalty, Tagicakibau
Conversions: Goode 3
Penalties: Goode 2
 
Attendance: 7,204
Referee: George Clancy
 
 
SATURDAY
 
Sale 15 Saracens 19
 
Sale
Tries: Lund, Ostrikov
Conversion: Cipriani
Penalty: Cipriani
 
Saracens
Tries: Farrell, B.Vunipola
Penalties: Hodgson, Farrell
Drop goal: Farrell
 
Attendance: 7,053
Referee: Leighton Hodges
 
Treviso 15 Northampton Saints 38
 
Treviso
Tries: Nitoglia, Carlisle
Conversion: Carlisle
Penalty: Carlisle
 
Northampton
Tries: Manoa, Waller, Foden, Burrell, penalty, G.Pisi
Conversions: Myler 4
 
Attendance: 1,000
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
 
 
FRIDAY
 
Montpellier 5 Bath Rugby 30
 
Montpellier
Try: Tulou
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Thomas, penalty, Houston
Conversions: Ford 3
Penalties: Ford 2
Drop goal: Ford
 
Attendance: 6,500
Referee: Ian Davies

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

 

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