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Rugby News

Wigglesworth previews Friday's European fixture

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Richard Wigglesworth says the magnitude of Friday night’s European knockout fixture is not lost on him and his Leicester Tigers squad.

A multiple Heineken Champions Cup winner in his playing days, Wigglesworth is aware of the standing the competition has in the global game.

“It is the best club competition in the world with the biggest clubs in the world taking part,” said the Tigers Head Coach.

“That isn’t lost on us, we know how important this game is and are excited for Friday night at home with our fans.”

While the competition changes, Wigglesworth was also quick to point out it doesn’t mean that the way in which preparation is conducted in Leicester changes.

“We want to win the next game, no matter the competition or opponent,” he said.

“All of our preparation is built around how we get better and how we give ourselves the best opportunity to win on the weekend.

“That doesn’t change this week because it’s a knockout game. All that changes is that there is no next game to win in the competition if we lose.

“We don’t change how we prepare based on a competition, but we definitely know what the result means and why it is different.”

Edinburgh come to Mattioli Woods Welford Road for just the second time in their history on Friday evening, after last meeting in 2007, and Wigglesworth is aware of the quality coming down from Scotland.

“We are coming up against what is basically an international team, with about 20 Test players in the side for Friday night, and know it will be big challenge,” Wigglesworth said.

“They have shown great form in Europe this season and we saw what they did to Saracens; Edinburgh are a quality outfit.

“They have nothing else to play for this season and so we know how big this for them, as they’ve said, but it’s huge for us as well.

“It’s a knockout European fixture, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, and so - like every week we get the chance to go out and represent Leicester Tigers, we’ll be giving it our everything.”

As a player and now coach, Wigglesworth has enjoyed some “special memories” in a Leicester Tigers shirt during the club’s recent run in Europe.

Speaking about the past few seasons in the Heineken Champions Cup, after spending time in the Challenge Cup, he said: “Our European record over the past couple of seasons has been good and created some special memories for all of us, home and away.”

“The memories we have come down to the fact that we have won big games in unique ways .

“But, we have lost games in this competition too that we know we didn’t give a good enough account of ourselves in. The memories aren’t all good ones, but there are definitely some special ones.

“What this competition has also done has exposed young guys to top-level rugby against seriously good sides, which we have seen has helped develop our players into better players.”

The home side may be enjoying a good run of recent form in the league and Europe but Wigglesworth was also adamant that neither mean much ahead of Friday night’s fixture.

“It’s the same every week, what we have done before means very little,” he said.

“All that matters is how well we prepare this week to take on Edinburgh.”