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Euro tie promises tough contest - Tigers

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Richard Cockerill says Leicester Tigers will "enjoy the battle" against Clermont Auvergne in France on Sunday.

Tigers top Pool 4 in this season’s Heineken Cup after wins in each of their first two fixtures, while Clermont are defending an unbeaten home record dating back to November 2009.

Cockerill is back on familiar territory after spending two years with the French club as a player, and he is relishing the return.

“There will be a full house and lots of noise,” said Cockerill, the Tigers director of rugby.

“The rugby club is right at the heart of the city and they will want to welcome Leicester Tigers on and off the field.

“They are a quality team, with quality throughout the whole squad. They have the best attack and the second-best defence this season in the French league, they are second in the championship.

“It is a huge challenge for us but we will go there and enjoy the battle. We’ve got to give it our best shot.”

Tigers are unbeaten in the last seven games, including last Saturday’s Aviva Premiership victory over neighbours Northampton Saints.

“We’ve beaten Ulster, beaten Gloucester away, then Saints, now we’ve got Clermont twice – that’s the toughest five weeks in a long time,” said Cockerill.

“They are all intense games. You take your bumps and bruises but you have to recover quickly, you get back to training, get back to working hard and get on with preparing for the next game. But it helps that process when you’re winning games too.

“We had a good win last week in an emotionally intense game. It was a classic local derby which either side could have won in the end. If you have a poor period in a game you can let good sides back in – we’ve done that a few times recently and we’ve got to cut that out.

“But we are getting better. We went in without Manu and Crofty last week but the guys who have stepped up have done very well. Steve Mafi was outstanding against Saints. You know you’re going to need all the guys in the squad to make their contribution if you are going to have a good season. That strength in depth is very important.”

Tigers kick off against Clermont at 3pm on Sunday afternoon, with the return fixture at Welford Road on Saturday, December 17 (1.30pm kick-off). Tickets for the home tie are available now from the Tigers ticket office – phone 0844 856 1880 between 9am and 5pm Saturdays, or 8.30am and 5pm weekdays (until 8pm Wednesdays) or call in to book your place.

You can also purchase match tickets from the Tigers Club Store in Market Street, Leicester. Or book online.