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'The leaders got together. It was pretty clear what we had to do'

By PA
Press Association

Leicester captain Tom Youngs reflected on a job well done after the Tigers reached a first European final for 12 years.

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The Gallagher Premiership club fought back from an 11-point interval deficit against European Challenge Cup semi-final opponents Ulster at Mattioli Woods Welford Road to win 33-24 after scoring 27 second-half points.

They will face Bath or Montpellier in the Twickenham final on May 21.

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Youngs said: “It is very pleasing. Ulster are a quality side and they came at us big-time.

“We had lost some close games recently, but we really tried to learn from those, and it helped us go on and win this game.

“We lost the collisions in the first half, but we addressed that at half-time and dug out a good win. We are not a team that goes away, and we got a foothold in the game.

“We will worry about the final when it comes around to it. We just want to get better and better each week.”

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick added: “We were very poor in the first half and completely outplayed.

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“There were a couple of glimpses in the first half and a couple of things we had to change tactically, and the boys did a very good job (in the second half).”

Leicester’s England fly-half George Ford kicked 18 points from a drop-goal, three penalties and three conversions, while Tigers’ England prop Ellis Genge, South African number eight Jasper Wiese and wing Guy Porter scored tries.

Ulster claimed touchdowns from skipper Iain Henderson, fly-half Billy Burns and number eight Nick Timoney, plus a Michael Lowry conversion and two conversions and a penalty by scrum-half John Cooney, but Leicester prevailed and booked a first European final appearance since being beaten by Heineken Cup opponents Leinster in 2009.

“It is a good achievement,” Ford told BT Sport, after impressing in front of British and Irish Lions assistant coaches Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy.

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“All we have done now is give ourselves an opportunity to win a trophy. I am really proud of the boys to stick at it and come back like we did in the second half.

“The pleasing thing is we got a reaction (in the second half). Maybe in the last couple of years we wouldn’t have got that.

“The leaders got together. It was pretty clear what we had to do. It was more the physicality and collision side we needed to fix.

“All players and coaches are in this game to win together. It is going to mean a lot to us to have an opportunity to win the trophy. We want to go and finish this off now.”

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Shaylen 29 minutes ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 6 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

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