Heineken Cup Live on Sky Sports on Friday
Clermont Auvergne vs Leicester 7pm, Sky Sports 2
The Heineken Cup enters its final pool stage with Friday’s key game seeing Leicester Tigers travel to Stade Marcel Michelin to take on Clermont Auvergne.
Sky Sports will broadcast seven games over the weekend and Sky Sports commentator Miles Harrison will preview one of the big games from each day.
Leicester will be full of confidence after there win against Stade, but Clermont won’t be a walkover will they?
MILES SAYS: And so Leicester should be. After their last minute win against The Ospreys and last weekend’s win over Stade Francais, there are a few inklings that this could be their year, that maybe their name is on that Cup.
They will need to keep a lid on that confidence though, which I am sure they will. They were buoyant after that win against Stade but Pat Howard immediately said that the job was not done yet and began to focus on Clermont Auvergne.
Howard and Richard Cockerill have both played in Clermont which will be crucial in their preparations. Both will know exactly what the Leicester players are heading for and will prepare them mentally for the challenge.
Harry Ellis is back. It should be a great battle with Clermont skipper Pierre Mignoni?
MILES SAYS: Pat Howard knows what he is doing. Austin Healey took his chance when Ellis was injured and did very well indeed.
Many people forget about Healey’s kicking game when they assess him as a player. We all know about his running game, but his kicking game is excellent too.
Howard is spoilt for choice really with the both of them, but this game will be a good test for Ellis. England will benefit too as it is a chance to see how he performs in a pressure game in France, especially against a classy player like Mignoni.
Good to see Brett Deacon back too?
MILES SAYS: Yes, he is another good player. His brother Louis gets most of the plaudits – which are fully deserved, he is a great England prospect.
Many people forget that when Leicester could call upon England locks Ben Kay and Martin Johnson, it was Deacon who was often on the team sheet ahead of Kay. Saying that Kay is getting back to his best and is playing very well. Brett is another fine young player.
A mention should also go to Luke Abraham who played very well last week. Leicester have had a few back row problems through injuries and suspension and when Shane Jennings went off last week many people saw them in real trouble. However Luke stepped up and had a superb second half.
What are the Tigers weaknesses, and how can Clermont expose them?
MILES SAYS: I am not sure they will be looking at any weaknesses, but the worry for Leicester is that Clermont turn in one of those aggressive and polished French performances. They are more than capable of doing it and will want to repay their fans.
Leicester are a great scalp to claim and they will want to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with. They can learn from this for next year’s Heineken Cup and go on to finish strongly in the French Top 14.
They will also not want to finish bottom of the table, their pride is what it is all about for them and that is a dangerous animal for Leicester to face.
MILES SAYS: Leicester will leave as winners. Four tries will be tough though, but they will take the win and see where that gets them in the quarter final seedings.