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Hipkiss happy after triumphant return

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Dan Hipkiss says he was delighted to get back into first-team action on Saturday, though he admits to some nerves before running out on the Welford Road pitch.

The England international centre had started only three games this season before playing a part in the 20-15 win over Clermont Auvergne which kept alive Tigers’ European campaign.

“The last time I played here it was a hot and sunny against Worcester, which shows how long ago it was,” he said.

“It was great to get back into it, though I was a little nervous. It felt a bit like playing my first game.

“Now the pressure is on me to stake a claim for a place. Richard Cockerill and Matt O’Connor gave me a chance this week and I did not want to let them or the fans down.”

Hipkiss made his presence felt in attack and defence as Anthony Allen and Scott Hamilton scored the tries in a vital Pool 3 victory and he is now looking to make a positive contribution in a key part of the season as Tigers face three tough Guinness Premiership fixtures over successive weekends against Sale Sharks, Saracens and London Wasps.

“We’re reasonably happy with the result. Allowing them a bonus point was not ideal, but it is better than losing,” he said.

“We have got to build from this. This time of year is pretty important and we’ve got another home game coming up. We need to get a result there then look to kick on in the new year.”