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Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 41 Stade Francais 13


Leicester Tigers will meet French powerhouse Racing 92 in the Champions Cup semi-finals but Richard Cockerill says his team can beat anybody if they play to the best of their abilities.

Leicester motored past Stade Francais from the word go, as Manu Tuilagi’s try within 90 seconds of kick-off set the tone for the rest of the game.

Freddie Burns and Peter Betham were particularly instrumental while Niki Goneva scored a try-double, and Mike Fitzgerald and Telusa Veainu rounded off the scoring – 41-13 – in the second half.

It has been a superb weekend for Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, as Wasps and Saracens prepare to do battle in the other Champions Cup semi-final.

An all-English final will be in store if Leicester overcome Racing, and Cockerill has backed his troops to get it spot on.

"We know in a one-off game we can beat anybody," said Cockerill.

"We know we can beat them if we get it right. And if we get to a final that's a one-off game and we can back ourselves against anyone.

"When we get it right we know we can beat anybody, so we've just got to get it right as often as we can.

"The standard definitely cranks up again for that game, but I think we've got a good side as well.

"We've got good players and players to match their players.

"Racing are a different prospect to what we played probably, but we'll just keep working and doing what we're doing.”

Tigers can also be buoyed by the fact that they will play on English turf, with the tie set to be played at the City Ground in Nottingham on Sunday April 24.

And Cockerill says his men are clicking into gear at just the right time – before admitting they can’t slow down with an East Midlands derby against Northampton Saints next up in Aviva Premiership Rugby.

"Tuilagi got through 80 minutes again and I thought (Peter) Betham and Veainu were excellent,” Cockerill added.

"Home advantage makes a huge difference in this tournament as results show, and hopefully we can capitalise on that.

"Hopefully we can just keep it going, but we've got another tough game going back to the league next week, against Northampton.”

Leicester: Tait; Veainu, Betham, Tuilagi, Goneva (Thompstone 69); Burns (Williams 51), Youngs (Kitto 68); Ayerza (Mulipola 62), Thacker (Bateman 60), Cole (Balmain 66); Barrow, Kitchener; Fitzgerald (de Chaves 68), O’Connor, McCaffrey (Croft 62)

Stade: Camara (Bonneval 63); Vuidarvuwalu, Doumayrou, Danty, Sinzelle; Steyn (Plisson 51), Dupuy (Tomas 70); Zhvania (Priso 66), Bonfils (Burden 66), Slimani (Alo Emile 60); Pyle, Flanquart (Gabrillagues); Ross, Lakafia, Parisse
Replacements: Alberts

Tries: Tuilagi, Goneva 2, Burns, Fitzgerald, Veainu
Conversions: Burns 4
Penalties: Burns

Stade Francais
Tries: Dupuy
Conversions: Stein
Penalties: Steyn 2

Referee: Nigel Owens
Attendance: 20,866

Watch England's finest at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 28 May from only £30 for adults & £15 for children. Click here for tickets


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