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Richard Cockerill expects Leicester Tigers' winner-takes-all clash to be a 'classic'

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Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill expects the Heineken Cup winner-takes-all showdown against Toulouse this weekend to be a "classic" match.

Leicester's 15-15 draw with the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium yesterday eliminated the Welsh region from the competition.

With Toulouse beating Treviso, it means that whoever wins the Anglo-French clash at Welford Road on Sunday will top Pool Two and progress to what is most likely to be an away quarter-final.

Toulouse won the first-round meeting in southern France 23-9, but the four-times winners have not enjoyed great form on their travels in both league and cup. Tigers, meanwhile, have only lost once at home since October 8, 2011.

Cockerill believes they are the ingredients for a day to remember.

"We are set up for a winner-takes-all game against Toulouse at Welford Road and, in a tough pool, that is where we wanted to be," said Cockerill, who received a huge boost yesterday with the news that lock-forward Geoff Parling has agreed terms on a new deal to extend his stay at the club.

"It should be a classic. We are good enough to beat anyone at home, and Toulouse have not been in the best of form.

"They are a very good side and they know how to win games, but they have not played particularly well away from home this season.

"We know they have enough class in their team to go anywhere and win, and we will be wary of that."

Cockerill admitted that his team will have to play a lot better on Sunday after they were second best in Swansea for much of the opening hour before a late fightback put them in a position to steal an unlikely win.

Tigers were 10-0 down at one stage, but tries from Ben Youngs and Niall Morris, on 67 and 73 minutes, put Leicester 15-10 ahead before Jonathan Spratt levelled the scores on 75 minutes to give both sides two points.

Leicester rode their luck, with the usually dead-eye Ospreys' fly-half Dan Biggar missing five out of seven kicks at goal, with three of those hitting the post or bar.

"We cannot be too frustrated because, to be in the lead with a few minutes to go, was an achievement," said Cockerill.

"We are disappointed that we didn't win and don't have a chance to be at home in the quarters, but this has been a tough pool.

"We have to be more accurate and a lot better next weekend, because that game was a bit like the tale of our season."

Cockerill added that both Tom Youngs and Manu Tuilagi, who hobbled off in the second half, had "tight calves" and that both would be "fine" for the Toulouse clash.

He also hailed Parling's new deal as "fantastic" news for the club, especially after speculation linking the 29-year-old with a move to Gloucester.

"Geoff has agreed terms with us and has decided that he wants to stay," said Cockerill. "He was always part of our plans going forward. I think that shows the strength of the environment we have here. It's fantastic for the club."

Richard Cockerill expects Leicester Tigers' winner-takes-all clash to be a 'classic'


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