George Chuter will be at the heart of Leicester Tigers’ forward drive when they clash with Cardiff Blues at a packed Welford Road on Saturday…
George Chuter will be at the heart of Leicester Tigers’ forward drive when they clash with Cardiff Blues at a packed Welford Road on Saturday – a contest the former double Heineken Cup champions must win to keep the pressure on defending champions and Pool 4 leaders Munster.
The Tigers will be playing their 72nd tournament match and are aiming to qualify for the knock-out stages for an eighth time.
“We know what we have to do – it is a must-win game,” said the England hooker. “However, ever since we lost at home to Munster in
Round 1 every game has been a must-win one so there is nothing new about Saturday.
“I know that that 21-19 defeat left us with no room for manoeuvre but it really was the big kick up the backside we needed at that time – it snapped us back into European mode because the Heineken Cup is different to the Premiership and requires different things.
“Munster came and played the right sort of game for the tournament and took the points but since then we have had a good win in Cardiff against the Blues and an even better one out in Bourgoin.”
The French club are still searching for their first win of the current campaign and host Munster tomorrow but Chuter is quick to emphasise that Bourgoin are anything but a pushover, particularly at Stade Pierre Rajon.
“They are a very physical and fiercely proud side and, just as it took a fantastic effort for us to win at Clermont Auvergne last season, so it needed another massive game for us to beat Bourgoin,” he said.
“But those are the sort of games where you learn everything about yourself and your team-mates. Winning away from home in places like France and Wales requires that extra resilience – it is not so much a physical thing but more about having that little bit more mental edge and toughness.”
The Blues have just five points but certainly have pride to play for and Chuter expects another tough encounter along the lines of their 21-17 win at the Millennium Stadium.
“We expect them to come out with all guns blazing,” he said. “They will have a point to prove after losing to us in a very tight game and some of their form in the Magners League shows that can be a real threat.
“After all, there is the extra spice of it being an English team against a Welsh team so we know it will be a bit special.
“The Blues have a lot of quality players but they will miss Martyn (Williams) as a result of his suspension. He had a big game against us but they still have other fantastic players like Xavier Rush and Mike Phillips.
“However, we cannot go into the game chasing a bonus point and if we win 3-0 then we will take that and the four points. If we manage to score three tries then of course we would push on for the fourth but the win is the big thing, anything after is just a bonus.
“We have got two massive Heineken Cup games coming up and I would be lying if I said that, even since we lost to Munster in Round 1, the game at Thomond Park has not been on our minds.
“However, we can only start really concentrating on that after playing the Blues.”