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Tigers need to roar

Friday 14th December 2012

12:00 am (GMT)

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Leicester, once one of the superpowers of European rugby, will be under no illusions of the task facing them as they travel to face one of the most improved teams in European rugby.

The Tigers, who won the trophy back-to-back in 2001 and 2002, have not lifted European rugby’s biggest prize for a decade now and have failed to make the knock-out stages in three of the last five seasons.

The English giants recorded a 33-25 bonus point victory over Treviso at Welford Road in the first leg of their double-header last Sunday, and need to do the same in Italy this weekend.

The Tigers are trailing an irrepressible Toulouse outfit, who are three points ahead of them in the Pool, and they need to come away with all the spoils from their trip to Italy.

Treviso, who have never reached the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup, have proved their fast improving maturity as a side in the Pro12 where they have recorded impressive wins on home soil.

The Italian outfit, who clawed themselves back into the contest during the first leg of their double-header against the Tigers, and will be looking desperate for the scalp of the former champions.

The Tigers have never lost to an Italian side and never lost in Italy in the Heineken Cup, but Treviso have beaten Bath, Biarritz, Edinburgh and the Scarlets on their home patch.

Treviso have not won a game and have yet to record their first points in this Pool, but they have certainly not been the pushovers that that record may suggest during this campaign.

Match Facts
• Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi is one of five top try-scorers in the Heineken Cup this season with three to his name.
• Treviso kicker Kris Burton is the only player in the Heineken Cup that has a 100% success rate with the boot having attempted five or more shots at goals.
• Treviso have conceded 49 penalties in three matches, more than any other side.
• The Italians have conceded 104 points in the Heineken Cup this season, only Zebre have conceded more.
• All five previous meetings between these sides in this tournament have gone Leicester’s way.

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Leicester leave it late in Italy

Saturday 15th December 2012

12:00 am (GMT)

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Leicester Tigers escaped from an Italian ambush by the skin of their teeth with George Ford saving their blushes 125 seconds from time in Treviso. - 15/12/2012 15:38

Leicester Tigers escaped from an Italian ambush by the skin of their teeth with George Ford saving their blushes 125 seconds from time in Treviso. - 15/12/2012 15:38

Leicester Tigers escaped from an Italian ambush by the skin of their teeth with George Ford saving their blushes 125 seconds from time in Treviso.

Ford’s simple conversion secured a 14-13 win just when Treviso were on the brink of claiming their most famous tournament victory.

The Stadio Comunale di Monigo crowd were ready to celebrate only for Irish referee Alain Rolland to finally lose his patience with persistent Treviso collapsing at close range scrums and award a penalty try that Ford had no problem converting.

With the Ospreys beating Toulouse in Wales the win took the Tigers one point clear of the French club in what is a fascinating three-horse race for the quarter finals.

The Tigers, who had to survive a spirited Treviso comeback at Welford Road a week ago before banking the five points with a 33-25 win, struck after just 12 minutes with left wing Adam Thompstone breaching the home defence at the end of a glorious sweeping move.

Ford, who had been off target with an earlier penalty goal chance, slotted the conversion and Treviso’s problems looked to have been compounded with prop Michele Rizzo sent to the sin bin for a 10-minute cooling off period.

But the home side not only survived his absence but levelled matters in the 27th minute when Rolland adjudged that the Tigers had pulled down a rolling maul and awarded the first of his two penalty tries that Alberto Di Bernardo had no trouble converting.

Although the Italian outside-half missed a penalty chance he made no mistake with the next to give Treviso the lead and let the Tigers know they had a real game on their hands and plenty to think about during the break.

And there was more cheer for the home fans when Di Bernardo struck again with the boot only for centre Christian Loamanu to be their second player yellow carded in a feisty encounter.

And then came that nail-biting finish with the Tigers’ scrum power ultimately coming to their rescue.

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