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Cockerill salutes opening European win

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Richard Cockerill says he had "nothing but praise" for the Leicester Tigers players after kicking off the European Rugby Champions Cup campaign with victory over visitors Ulster on Saturday.

Tigers scored three first-half tries to lead 19-3 before closing out a 25-18 victory in the first round of the new European competition.
“Everyone took a bit of confidence from last week, worked hard this week and have beat a good Ulster side,” director of rugby Cockerill said.
“Ulster have good players and we’ve struggled to get past them in the last couple of years.
"It was a cracking game, a great physical contest. 
“Ulster had to chase the game in the second half and, to be fair, they chased it very well.
“The attitude of the players has been awesome, I’ve got nothing but praise for them. After a couple of poor weeks those guys rallied everybody round, kept everybody pulling in the same direction and, credit to them, they have got us back on track.
“In the end we were probably disappointed not to get the bonus-point score because we had a couple of opportunities to do that, both in the first half and then with the lineouts at the end. But if someone had offered me the score and the performance before the game I think I would have taken it.

"If you lose your first game at home it makes it hard, but it is just one game and now we have to work on backing it up.”
A crowd of just under 20,000 shared the occasion, including a large travelling support from Northern Ireland.
“Our support was massive tonight,” said Cockerill. “The crowd was really loud and vocal. It was an old-fashioned European night at Welford Road, which was great to see.”
Tigers lost Manu Tuilagi to injury after just quarter of an hour, though Cockerill will have been happy to see Anthony Allen and Adam Thompstone warming up with the matchday squad after recent injury issues.
“We lost Manu early on and that meant a bit of disruption,” he said. “It is a recurrence of his groin injury. Hopefully it is not too much of an issue, but clearly it is not right.”