George Ford has urged his Leicester Tigers team-mates to make it count in their ‘one shot’ European semi-final this evening.
Tigers travel to the south of France to take on RC Toulon in the final four of the Challenge Cup, knowing that a strong performance against a star-studded side could take them into a first European final since 2009.
And international fly-half Ford has shared the excitement among the group at a challenging Cup tie on Saturday evening.
“We go into every game wanting to win, but the fact that this is a knockout game, we understand that it is one shot and one opportunity,” Ford said.
“We’ve put ourselves in the best position to go and perform there on Saturday night. We’ve been really excited all week.
“This is a great challenge for us to go away to a top French team in a semi-final, and it’s an exciting opportunity for us. We can’t wait for it.”
The match will serve as another test of Tigers’ improved resolve under head coach Steve Borthwick.
Ford continued: “We are focusing on getting better and learning quickly as much as we can, every day, every week.
“There are always a lot of things said about this club in terms of its history and how successful it has been in the past, and the need to get back there, but for us it is about what we do every day to keep improving.
“If we do that, we will end up in a decent place. Steve is brilliant at keeping on top of us in terms of that.”
And after using this competition to test the depth of the squad across five wins in six pool games, Tigers now travel to the French heavyweights for the semi-final.
“The Challenge Cup has been a brilliant way for us to improve from week to week,” Ford added.
“While it has probably allowed us to use our squad a bit more and give lads some genuine game time, when you get this deep into a competition and you come up against the likes of Toulon – or Bristol and Bordeaux in the other semi-final – they’re really good, top European teams.
“This is a great challenge for us and we’re giving the competition the respect it deserves.
“The key for us is to keep improving and to make sure we keep getting better.”