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Christmas period is vital for us says Cockerill

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European targets will have to be put on hold with a vital spell of Aviva Premiership rugby to come in the next three weeks, including home fixtures against Sale and Wasps.

Leicester Tigers stayed in the hunt for a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a 23-19 victory over Clermont Auvergne on Saturday, and director of rugby Richard Cockerill says the team will need to maintain those standards on the return to domestic action.

“It’s been a massive test in Europe over the last couple of weeks,” said Cockerill after Tigers bounced back from defeat in Clermont to take four points from the home fixture.

“To get any win is a good result against a very good Clermont side.

“But now we are back to the Aviva Premiership and we have three very important games over the Christmas-New year period.

“We have to get our heads on and make sure we play with the same intensity we’ve shown over the last few weeks to push up the table.”

After just one win in the opening six rounds of the season as Tigers coped without the senior internationals and with a lengthy injury list, Cockerill has seen the team lose just once in the last nine games in all competitions.

“We’ve got a very good squad and we’re seeing the combinations within the team work together more, and that has to help,” he said.

“You need to work together and have game-time together, and we’ve got one or two back from injury.

“Everybody is working hard and we know this is a very important period because we cannot afford too many slip-ups now after the start to the season we had.”

Tigers travel to Sixways for a sell-out fixture against Worcester Warriors on December 27 before returning for two home games in the space of six days.

Sale Sharks are the visitors on Sunday, January 1 (kick-off 3.30pm) and then old rivals London Wasps come to Welford Road on Saturday, January 87 (kick-off 5pm).

Tickets for both games are available now. Phone the Tigers ticket office on 0844 856 1880, call in at Welford Road or at the Club Store in Market Street, Leicester, or book online.

Or you can book your place for the last eight home games of the regular season (starting with the Sale match on January 1) with a Tigers Season Ticket Taster. Prices are from £118 adults, £106 age 65-plus, £102 Young adults & full-time students and 50 juniors. Click here for details.