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Rugby News

Point gives us a start in Europe - O'Connor

Mike Williams carries ball in the European opener against Racing
Mike Williams carries ball in the European opener against Racing

Matt O’Connor is calling for “another big performance” against Castres Olympique at Welford Road on Saturday after Leicester Tigers opened their European Champions Cup campaign with a point from defeat against Racing 92 in Paris.

Tigers led early on against Racing with score from Luke Hamilton before three tries in an 11-minte spell from the hosts. But the visitors stuck to their task to claim a point in a 22-17 defeat in the opening fixture in Pool 4.

“They took their chances a little bit better than us,” said head coach O’Connor. “They got the results from their field position and got the pressure from there.

“But we take a point and it gives us a start in the group. Now we will have a look at the areas to work on and we’ll need another big, positive performance back at Welford Road against Castres next weekend.”

After conceding three first-half tries at the Stade Yves du Manoir, Tigers stuck to their game and managed to dig out a point, with Jonny May claiming his seventh try in seven games during the second half.

“We probably needed back-to-back scores on the back of some really good work in the first half,” said O’Connor. “But they caught us with a couple of good scores. They have a lot of good players and they are very tough to play against here.

“There is a lot of disappointment in the changing room but we prepared really well, worked really hard out there for the full 80 minutes and there were a couple of opportunities to score tries that we did not take that could have given us the win.

“We put a lot of work into the week leading up to the game, we prepared well and if you come away empty-handed it leaves you a bit flat. That effort and that reward will be important. It would be incredibly frustrating to get nothing for the effort put and the bodies that we put on the line today.

“We take a point and stay alive in the group. Now we have to focus on another big game next weekend. There is everything to play for in the competition.”

Tigers against Castres Olympique is a 5.30pm kick-off at Welford Road on Saturday. Match tickets are available now. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 01216 319 8888 (option 2)(open 9.00am-5.00pm Monday-Saturday) or online any time.