Cockerill Hails Defining Moment

Richard Cockerill, pictured, believes the 15-14 win over Montpellier could be defining in his side's Heineken Cup campaign
©Press Assosciation

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill thinks his side's late win over Montpellier could be a defining moment in their Heineken Cup campaign.

Tigers centre Vereniki Goneva crossed in the 79th minute to rescue the win in conjunction with Ryan Lamb's conversion after Leicester had trailed Montpellier for the majority of the second half in France.

It keeps Leicester three points behind Pool Five leaders Ulster with the two sides due to meet in a crunch clash at Welford Road in January.

Cockerill said: "You give Montpellier a few opportunities and they will score and then you're chasing your tail.

"At 14-8 we could have been happy to take the bonus point and not risk losing it but credit to the players, they kept playing and manufacturing opportunities to score tries even if we didn't necessarily take them.

"But this was what we needed in the competition, those four points to keep the pressure on Ulster.

"This is massive for us, with another massive game in Treviso to come.

"We can't take anything for granted but we want to get the win there and then bring Ulster at Welford Road for a grand stand finish."

The tight contest was scoreless for 50 minutes until England international Tom Youngs crossed for the visitors.

But Montpellier hit back with two tries from outside half Enzo Selponi and wing Lucas Dupont to take a deserved lead.

Replacement fly-half Lamb kept Leicester in touch with a penalty before slotting a crucial conversion after Goneva went over in the final minute.

Cockerill said: "We played pretty well and had a few good opportunities to score.

"Miles Benjamin was a whisker away and we could have scored a few more so we did enough to win the game.

"It is what Leicester do well, they keep doing what they do, they keep playing.

"Even today with Toby (Flood) going off and Daniel Bowden going off, the lads just kept playing, knowing that opportunities would come.

"Fair play to Marcos Ayerza after 79 minutes he showed what makes the difference between being good and very good.

"And to Niki Goneva for getting up again to get close to the sticks for a better conversion.

"It's a massive win and potentially the defining moment that can get you out of a pool.

"This puts us in good position to finish top of the group, and maybe get a home quarter-final.

"But there's still a long way to go, we can't take Treviso lightly but it's still in our hands.

"I'm delighted for the players, it's their victory. We hadn't won in France since 2006, this group of players have made a little bit of history for themselves."

© Press Association