Leinster Rugby senior coach Stuart Lancaster labelled Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Leicester Tigers at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as “one of the special European games”.
The fifth head-to-head between the teams in the knockout stage of the tournament pits this season’s leading clubs in the Gallagher Premiership and the United Rugby Championship against each other.
“Leicester are probably international quality in every position in my opinion,” said Lancaster. “It’s not dissimilar from our team. They have got a lot of experienced players. It’s going to be one of the special European games for sure.
“They have done amazingly well this season. They have only lost four games, which is a great testament to how well Steve Borthwick has coached and improved the team from last season.
“They’ve still got the ability to play with width and challenge defences in different ways. You don’t score the points they did against Bristol without that.
“One of Leicester’s strengths is that they have won a lot of games in the last five to 10 minutes. We have got to have patience and intent in our armoury. This is definitely the highest challenge we have faced this season.”
Build-up to @LeicesterTigers on Saturday in @ChampionsCup well underway here in UCD 💪 #LEIvLEI #HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/S0GJXkjyko
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) May 2, 2022
Robbie Henshaw, Leinster’s Ireland centre, described the draw as “probably one of the toughest”.
“We are going to be going into their fortress,” he reasoned. “I know they are a different team at home.
“They are playing great rugby and are top of the Premiership. I think their record speaks for itself in Europe. They are really firing on all cylinders.
“For us, it’s going to be a massive test. We’ve got to go out there and really attack them, not sit back and see what happens.
“The kick battle is going to be huge, the aerial battle and being able to deal with that. We have to be one step ahead, as we know when the kick goes up, they will chase very hard.
“Our brand of rugby should be good for us to break down their system. The key for us is to stay patient. The opportunities may not be there until later on.”