The Leicester Tigers squad are embracing the prospect of a European ‘battle’ at Welford Road this weekend, according to back-rower Guy Thompson.
Geordan Murphy’s men face Pau on home ground in the opening round of the European Challenge Cup this Saturday (November 16, 3.00pm) before a trip to Cardiff Arms Park next week.
And, as Thompson explains, the change in competition will bring a welcome change in focus from the cut-and-thrust of the Gallagher Premiership.
“As a squad, we want to do well in everything we compete in,” the 32-year-old said.
“Leicester have got a massive history in Europe. We want to play games, and we want to win games, and we’ve got to change our mentality and learn how to win again.
“It’s going to be tough – European competition is the toughest rugby you play – but that’s why we’re excited for it.”
“We’ll embrace the challenge of a strong Pau side.”Guy Thompson
After a brutal first four rounds of domestic action, the Tigers side now face a six-day turnaround from their loss at London Irish before taking on French club Pau.
Thompson describes the shorter-than-usual week a chance to get ‘straight back on the horse’.
“Sometimes it can be good to have a little bit of a step back and have a little look at yourselves,” he added.
“But we’re hurting, and disappointed in our first four games. When that happens you want to get straight back on the horse and take the opportunity to put it right.”
Saturday’s visitors currently sit third in the French TOP14 following wins over Bayonne, Castres and Clermont in recent weeks, and will serve as a stern test of the men in green, white and red.
Thompson continued: “Whenever you play against a French team, you know you’re in for a long afternoon with scrums, lineout, and things like that.
“If we’re going to do well, it’s about us doing what we do best. We’ll try and keep the ball in play because we feel like a fit side – but we’re also happy as a forward pack at the moment.
“We think our set-piece is going really well, so we’ll embrace the challenge of a strong Pau side. It’s going to be a great battle, and we’re looking forward to it.”
Match tickets for Saturday’s game are available online and via the Tigers ticket office.