Steve Borthwick praised the “courage” of his Leicester Tigers players as they recorded a victory in France in the opening round of the Heineken Champions Cup on Saturday.
George Ford landed the decisive kick in a 16-13 victory over Bordeaux-Bègles in the club’s first Champions Cup tie in nearly three years to get the campaign off to a successful start.
“I am proud of the players,” said head coach Borthwick. “When Bordeaux kicked to the corner with 81 minutes on the clock I thought that, regardless of what happened or the outcome there, I am proud of the players.
“Their effort was magnificent. They came here to Bordeaux and had the courage to play a bit differently, have a go and push themselves, and they certainly did that.
“Bordeaux are a brilliant team, they have threats all over the park, and we wanted to try to challenge them in a different way. The players adapted on the pitch and that was terrific.”
Tigers led 10-3 in the first half with a Guy Porter try, but scores were all-square at half-time before Bordeaux nudged in front in the second period.
Ford levelled the scores at 13-13 with 10 minutes left in the game and then landed the crucial kick just three minutes from the end in a meeting of the English and French league leaders.
Discipline was key, too, with Borthwick adding: “We did really well in that regard. The players spoke about it at half-time and made the adjustment for the second half and learned from it. I am very pleased with how quickly they take on the lessons and put that straight into practice.
“The players fought really hard and now we will recover and look towards Connacht at Mattioli Woods Welford Road next Sunday.”
Tigers against Connacht is a 1.00pm kick-off on Sunday, December 19. Tickets are available now. Book online, in person or by phoning 0116 319 8888 (option 2).
To book the last remaining hospitality places, phone the sales team on 0116 2171 215 – ask about the Champions Club bundle and book for the home games against Connacht and Bordeaux-Bègles together.