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Crane trusts his kicking boots

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Jordan Crane returned to his football roots as the hero of the hour in the Heineken Cup semi-final win over Cardiff Blues on Sunday.

The Leicester Tigers No8 took the clinching kick in a heart-stopping shoot-out after the teams had shared 52 points in 100 minutes of high-pressure rugby.

Tries from Scott Hamilton and Geordan Murphy had helped to push Tigers into a 26-12 lead, before Jamie Roberts and Tom James scored in the final eight minutes for the Blues to send the game into extra-time at the Millennium Stadium. 

With no more scoring during extra-time, the 44,000 crowd and a worldwide TV audience then sat through the Heineken Cup’s first-ever kicking contest and it was Crane who kept his nerve to slot the final kick.

As a former junior goalkeeper with West Bromwich Albion, Crane backed himself to complete the kick and said: “Being a footballer, I would always take one of the kicks if I was needed.

“I was pretty confident to kick it from in front of the posts but some nerves started to kick in when I actually got there.

“I didn’t think Martyn Williams would miss before me but that took the pressure off because if I had missed it was all square again.”

Crane had been at the centre of a massive encounter and felt Tigers could have won the game without the nerves of the shoot-out.

“We kept saying if we just kept playing our game we were in with a shout,” he said.

“Up to 74 minutes everyone thought we had it in the bag. They came back strong and we just stuck in there. They had us on the ropes with two quick tries but we stayed in there with extra time and the way we came through that was awesome.”