News in Brief
Cockerill praises Tigers' spirit
October 11, 2009
Leicester's Billy Twelvetrees slots a kick during his side's Heineken Cup draw with Ospreys
© Getty Images
- Leicester boss Richard Cockerill was quick to hail his side's spirit following their 32-32 draw with Ospreys in their Heineken Cup clash at Welford Road.
The Tigers had already been decimated by injury when the loss of four key players before kick-off forced Cockerill into a backline reshuffle. Harry Ellis, Matt Smith and Aaron Mauger failed fitness tests on the morning of the game and Dan Hipkiss was ruled out with a virus after failing to come through the warm-up.
"The players have to take credit. The spirit of the players today was fantastic," said Cockerill after his side battled back from a 26-8 deficit to grab a share of the spoils. "We pride ourselves on having people who want to play for us and not for the money. You can buy a team but you can't buy spirit. The club demands the boys play and work hard. We don't have people here who don't put in the work."
- Toulouse scrum-half Byron Kelleher as admitted his side are still smarting from their 2008 Heineken Cup defeat to Munster as they chase a fourth European title.
The French giants opened their Pool Five account in style with a five-try, bonus-point home triumph over Sale Sharks. But All Black scrum-half Kelleher claimed the final defeat in Cardiff 17 months ago was spurring his team-mates on to creating further history.
"It was really important for us to start the Heineken Cup campaign with a real bang," he said. "We haven't been playing flamboyant rugby in recent weeks in the Top 14 but the cohesion was there and we played as a team rather than individuals. That was the major plus for us and the performance gives us real confidence as we continue in this competition. We showed discipline which was also positive for us because that is where we've lost the Heineken Cup in the last two years.
"The majority of the team played in the final we lost to Munster and we were stung by that. We've learnt from that and we need to continue on a winning streak."