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Cockers savours Euro opener under lights

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Richard Cockerill says Leicester Tigers European opener against Stade Francais is the type of Welford Road occasion that players and fans want to be involved in.Tigers launch this season’s Champions Cup under the lights at Welford Road on Friday, November 13, when they take on the defending French champions.   “Friday night under the lights at Welford Road, the Champions Cup, Leicester Tigers v Stade Francais, these are the big fixtures that everyone wants to be involved in,” the Tigers director of rugby said.   “It’s going to be a big start for us. It’s the first game of this season’s tournament – we kick the whole thing off – which is kudos to us.”   Cockerill was speaking at the launch event of this season’s competition, held at the Twickenham Stoop on Wednesday. He was joined at the launch by club captain Ed Slater.   Slater said: “You want to test yourself against the best teams and that’s what the Champions Cup is all about.   “It promises to be a real Welford Road occasion and one that we’re all looking forward to.” The game is included on the Tigers season ticket. And if you hold season tickets for under-10s or juniors, or for children as part of a Tigers family season ticket, the club will exchange these for adult tickets free of charge so you can enjoy the match with family and friends if kick-off is too late for younger members. Match tickets are available now on 0116 319 8888 (option 2), online by clicking here and from the Welford Road ticket office. Hospitality is also available. Speak to the Tigers hospitality team on 0116 2171 215 or book online by clicking here.   Meanwhile, competition organisers EPCR announced that Turkish Airlines is to become an official partner of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup. The agreement will run for three years until the end of the 2017/18 season. EPCR Chairman, Simon Halliday, said: "While this is the company's first rugby sponsorship, Turkish Airlines have been associated with top-class sport for many years and we are certain that they will be a factor in broadening the base of club rugby in Europe and bringing the game to new, enthusiastic fans.”   Ilker Ayci, chairman of Turkish Airlines, added: "This partnership reinforces Turkish Airlines' position as Europe's Best Airline and demonstrates our continued commitment to sport in Europe and across the whole world.”   EPCR says it make another important sponsorship announcement at its Tournament Launch for Top 14 clubs in Lyon on Monday (November 9).