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Cole says Tigers crowd provided massive lift

Dan Cole says last Sunday's showdown with Saracens at Welford Road was the loudest he has heard the Tigers Family crowd for a long time and admitted the support from the Leicester faithful helped keep the side in the game against the reigning English champions up until the final whistle.

A disappointed Cole spoke to LeicesterTigers.com in the home changing room after the match and was quick to praise the passion of those in the stands for their help in "lifting the lads" throughout the Gallagher Premiership fixture.

"That’s as loud as I’ve heard Welford Road for a long time," said the 31-year-old.

"It really lifts the lads when a Tigers home crowd gets going, puts pressure on the opposition and pressure on everyone involved to get things right."

Saracens took an 18-point lead in to the half time break and the 85 Test veteran admitted the crowd was "massive" in helping dig the side out of the hole and bring the deficit back to within two points with less than five minutes on the clock.

"We had a ten minute period where we conceded three tries to put ourselves behind and a lot of that was our own doing ... but we showed good spirit to dig ourselves out of that situation and put ourselves in a position to win it," said Cole.

"The crowd was massive in the second half in helping us dig ourselves out of that hole."

Although the game ultimately went the way of the visiting side, the Leicester forward was positive in his appraisal of the Tigers maul which delivered two crucial tries in the second half after it had come under scrutiny in the opening months of the season.

"We got some good rewards from our maul, which we’ve worked hard on and it’s good to see that paying off," he said.

The 207-game Tiger was also quick to praise fellow academy graduate Matt Smith, who scored the final try after a brilliant individual effort to chase down a Gareth Owen grubber kick and weave his way around Saracens last line of defence to the line.

"He rolled back the years, didn’t he?" Cole said with a smile.

"He looked more like a 25-year-old in that play than the 35-year-old he is!"