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The thing that most pleased Borthwick about Leicester in France

(Photo by Romain Perrocheau/AFP via Getty Images)

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick praised the courage of his players as they overcame periods of intense pressure to claim a 16-13 Heineken Champions Cup victory over Bordeaux at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. The Tigers have now won 13 competitive games in succession and this was a significant opening win to their cup campaign but they had to dig deep to overcome the Top 14 leaders, with a late George Ford penalty sealing the win.


“I’m proud of these players,” said Borthwick. “When Bordeaux kicked the ball into the corner at the end, I thought, ‘Regardless of what the outcome is, I’m proud of the players’. They came here to Bordeaux and had a real go.

“They had the courage to play a little bit different and the courage to have a go. Bordeaux are a brilliant team, with threats all around the park. We wanted to challenge them in a different way so that they would have to think a little bit differently.

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Ex-All Blacks prop John Afoa guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload

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Ex-All Blacks prop John Afoa guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload

“There is a lot of potential to be a good team. They have got an attitude in wanting to get better and, from my point of view, it’s a pleasure to coach them.”

George Ford kicked eleven points for Leicester with Guy Porter scoring their only try, while Jean-Baptiste Dubie touched down for Bordeaux as Maxime Lucu added eight points. Bordeaux second row Kaine Douglas was sent to the sin bin for a swinging arm early on and the Tigers took advantage with Porter touching down after a Bryce Hegarty break.

After laying siege to the Bordeaux try line, Ford opted for a cross-kick, but Hosea Saumaki ended up taking Nans Ducuing out in the air. Referee Andrew Brace was left with no option but to show Saumaki a yellow card. After a period of sustained pressure, Bordeaux centre Moram Falatea-Moefana carried forward, before executing a perfect offload to put Dubie over for the try. Lucu added the extras meaning the scores were level at 10-10 at half-time.

With four minutes left on the clock, Ford knocked over a penalty from 45 metres out to put the Tigers back in front. Bordeaux turned down a kickable penalty to level the scores at the last play of the game, but they refused to accept the draw and went for the corner. But after a few powerful carries, they were penalised with Leicester coming out on top.


Despite the impressive run of Leicester form, Borthwick insisted he would not be getting carried away. “From my perspective, I don’t think too much about what’s happened in the past,” he said. “All I’m really concentrating on is what can we do to get better after this game – and we’ll continue with that.

“If you start thinking too much about what happened in the past you can get stuck there and maybe that’s what Leicester Tigers did as a club. We’ll take lessons from this, enjoy this, and then we’ve got a Sunday game coming up against Connacht at Welford Road.”


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Morne 9 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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FEATURE Old habits die hard but Farrell's Ireland must embrace favourites' tag Old habits die hard but Farrell's Ireland must embrace favourites' tag