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Rugby News

Semi-Final Reaction: Julián Montoya

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Julián Montoya struggled to find the words following the Gallagher Premiership semi-final defeat away to Sale Sharks.

Speaking after the game, the Leicester Tigers captain admitted he and his teammates were "sad" to see their season come to a close one game short of the 2022/23 decider.

"It is hard to find the words to say how I feel," said Montoya.

"I am upset, I am sad. I did not want to end our season today."

Discussing the match, the front-rower added: "Sale were very good today and deserved winners."

"Congratulations to them on reaching the final, they have been excellent all season and earned their place in the final.

"We weren't at our best today and could have done a lot of things a lot better out there, but it is done and our season is over. That's it."

Looking back on a season like no other, which included the departure of two coaches in December and a fast-tracked promotion for Richard Wigglesworth from player to full-time Head Coach, the Argentine stopped short of seeing the achievement of reaching the semi-finals as successful.

"The start to our season wasn't very good and around halfway into the season nobody thought we would ever reach this point, but here we are and only a few points from being in the final game," Montoya said.

"But, look, I will be honest: we don't see being in the top four or semi-finals as a success. We won't celebrate reaching this point, no matter what anybody thought we should have done.

"We play to win, we play to win trophies and so we see this as disappointing because we will not do that this season."

Asked about what positives he would take from the challenging campaign, he said: "I am so proud of this team, so proud of everybody at Leicester Tigers for what they have put into this season."

"It has been a challenging season, with a lot of different things thrown at us, and we will come out of this with so much we have learned together, about each other and try to be better next year."

Montoya also took time out to share an insight into what he believes makes this Leicester Tigers group so special.

"We fight together, we stick together and trust one another," he said.

"This group does not like to fail, it does not like to lose and today we have to accept defeat and learn from this.

"What I am most proud of though is that I am a part of this club and so proud I am a Tiger."