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Cockerill praises 'performance full of character'

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Richard Cockerill says the Leicester Tigers squad "made their own piece of history" with a win over Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday.A third successive win in Pool 4 of the European Champions Cup was secured with tries from Vereniki Goneva, Mike Fitzgerald and Ben Youngs at the iconic home of Munster rugby in Limerick. Speaking after the 31-19 triumph, director of rugby Cockerill said: “This is a place not many teams come to and win, especially in Europe, and I’m delighted for the team. “Munster are a good side, they played well, and our players made their own history tonight. It was a performance full of character. "The game ebbed and flowed, as it will when you’re against good sides, but we played some decent stuff. We learned some lessons at Worcester last week. We got ther result there, but we were a shadow of the side we want to be. We got it right today – the attitude, physicality and tactics.” Goneva’s try after 34 minutes put Tigers in front and Fitzgerald quickly followed with his first score for the club to establish an 18-6 lead before half-time. Munster, though, roared back into the game after the break, backed by the home support in a 22,000-strong crowd, and trailed by just four points before Youngs broke from a ruck to score a third for the Tigers with the team down to 14 men after Marcos Ayerza had been yellow-carded. “Niki’s finish was outstanding,” said Cockerill. “He was in a tight spot and it was a really good finish. “We knew they would come and throw everything at us at the start of the second half and they did get it to within four points. But credit to our lads, they found a way to win. “The tidal wave came against us and we conceded eight points very quickly at the start of the second half and lost a player to the bin. But we managed to get a foothold in the game again, defended well and Ben’s try was probably the defining moment. He has a natural ability to spot space and he was quick enough to finish it off.” “When the moments came, we managed to take them.” Cockerill expects another huge tussle when the teams meet in the return fixture at Welford Road next Sunday (5.15pm). “It’s a good win, a great night for the club, and we want to enjoy it,” he said. “But we won’t be getting too far ahead of ourselves. The scoreline probably flattered us a bit in the end and Munster are a good team, we know it’ll be another massive contest next week.” Gonzalo Camacho made his competitive debut for the club as a late replacement and Cockerill confirmed that Owen Williams would be fit for the return after “jarring his knee” in the closing stages of the game at Thomond Park. Tickets for the Welford Road fixture are available now. Call in at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 or book online.