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'Our best yet' says Cockerill after Euro victory

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Richard Cockerill says Sunday's win over Toulon came from the team's "best performance of the season" but he anticipates an even bigger challenge in the south of France on Saturday.

A try from Brad Thorn – his first for the club – and 20 points from fly-half Owen Williams helped Tigers to a 25-21 win over the double European champions and provided what Cockerill termed a “lifeline” in Pool 3 of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
“It is the best we have played this season,” said Tigers director of rugby Cockerill. “The attitude to play, the physical attitude and the enthusiasm to play at them and put them under pressure was the best we have seen for a long time.
“It was a special European evening at Welford Road against a very good side. The crowd and the players brought it out of themselves and thankfully we got the win.
“Toulon are a fantastic side bit from 1-15 I thought our players were fantastic and the bench made an impact when they came on too.
“We started well and got 13-0 up so we were a bit disappointed when they came back to 13-all. But I’m delighted with how we responded.”
Fly-half Williams kicked two early penalties to give Tigers the advantage before Thorn grabbed his try. But two penalties from Nicolas Sanchez and an interception score from wing Bryan Habana brought the French league leaders back into the game before half-time.
Then, despite a try from wing Drew Mitchell which gave Toulon the lead at 18-16, Williams maintained his kicking form to close out the win for the hosts in front of a 22,114-strong crowd.
“We wanted it to be a big European night at Welford Road in its own right,” said Cockerill. “It wasn’t just another pool fixture, it was about bringing the French champions and European champions to Welford Road. We have a very good record here in Europe and we wanted to honour that. The players responded and the crowd responded really well.
“It’s a good win, but nobody is getting carried away. We’re very mindful we have to go there next week and they don’t lose at home very often. What we have done is give ourselves a lifeline in the pool. We had really poor performance against the Scarlets in the last round but today we showed if we get it right how good we can be. We will have to be even better next week.”