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Piece by piece, the Euro Cup run clicked into place

Andy Goode and Pat Howard combine during the home win over Glasgow Caledonians
Andy Goode and Pat Howard combine during the home win over Glasgow Caledonians

Like all the best stories, the 2001 European title triumph started in a sprint, hit an unexpected bump and then recovered to build momentum towards a thrilling finale, in this case in the white-hot cauldron of the Parc des Princes.

Before checking the facts, The Tig – at that stage merely The Cub – had no special singular memory from the pool stages in 2001, with the ‘I was there’ stories only picking up from the quarter-finals onwards.

But inspired by talk of the 20th anniversary, a flick through history reveals some key moments – beating Pau at home in Round 1 and then winning away to Glasgow, who were then known as the Caledonians.

Then, after losing at Pontypridd in the days before Welsh regional rugby, Tigers won the return and never lost their grip on the pool.

One memory that does flicker still was The Tig’s nervousness about the rematch with Pau in the south of France.

Based on their reputation at home, their history, their attitude in combat and the nagging feeling that shipping nearly 50 points at Tigers would merely make them angry back on their own territory, this is where everything could have changed.

But Tigers won again with the kind of performance and result that make champions before beating the Caledonians for a second time and paving the way for a home quarter-final with Swansea.

And that’s where the real memories start to flow...

Tigers are hosting an event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the club's first Heineken Cup win during May 2021. Click the link to find out more