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Richard Cockerill excited for Leicester's knockout clash with Stade Francais

Published 24/01/2016

Richard Cockerill's side will face Stade Francais again
Richard Cockerill's side will face Stade Francais again

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill is delighted to have home advantage when his side meet Stade Francais again in the European Champions Cup.

Stade secured the bonus-point victory they needed to reach the quarter-finals courtesy of being one of the three best runners-up with a 36-21 Pool 4 win against the Tigers at Stade Jean Bouin, and their reward is a trip to Welford Road in April.

And Cockerill, whose side have already beaten the Top 14 champions at home this season, is eagerly awaiting the tie.

He said: "You go into a one-off game in the quarter-final and they're all good teams who have come through. They're all able to beat each other.

"We'll be happy to be at home because historically that gives you the best chance of going further and we'll have a warm welcome for them. It will be a great occasion.

"Stade Francais are a good side, stacked with world-class players. I have a lot of admiration for the French sides and how they play the game, and we look forward to having them at Welford Road."

Leicester had already secured their ticket to the last eight, but were denied a sixth successive pool victory in France despite Manu Tuilagi's first try since returning from a 15-month injury giving them an early lead.

Jules Plisson, Waisea Vuidarvuwalu and Rabah Slimani all scored tries in the space of 10 minutes to give the hosts a 19-7 half-time lead before Raphael Lakafia secured the all-important bonus point.

Dom Barrow and Harry Thacker hit back with tries for the Tigers but Geoffrey Doumayrou rounded off a dominant performance from the hosts.

"To be fair, Stade got what they deserved and what they needed out of the game, and they've showed that they're good enough to beat anybody," added Cockerill.

"I thought we played some really good stuff at times. We took the lead early but they're a good side and if you give them an opportunity to come back at you then they can take their chances and they took them very well.

"In the first 20 minutes we created some good opportunities but if you make mistakes that can give them the opportunities to run into your wide channels, and Stade are certainly good enough to do that and get their scores.

"There were some tiny margins and we were the wrong side of those today, we were probably a little bit more inaccurate than them."

"We'll learn some lessons from today. For some of the younger players, and some of those who've come into the squad this season, this was a new experience for them, coming to a big game in France, against a good side with a big home record, and they'll all be better for it."

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