Leicester Tigers head coach Richard Wigglesworth branded the Heineken Champions Cup “the best club competition in the world” as he looked forward to Friday night’s Round of 16 home tie against Edinburgh Rugby.
The Gallagher Premiership have won the competition twice, but the last of those successes was way back in 2002 and Wigglesworth, a three-time winner with Saracens, is keen to end the Tigers’ lean run.
“It is the best club competition in the world with the biggest clubs in the world taking part,” he said. “That isn’t lost on us. We know how important this game is and are excited for Friday night at home with our fans.
“Our European record over the past couple of seasons has been good and created some special memories for all of us, home and away. We have won big games in unique ways.
“But we have lost games in this competition too that we know we didn’t give a good enough account of ourselves in. The memories aren’t all good ones, but there are definitely some special ones.
“What this competition has also done has exposed young guys to top-level rugby against seriously good sides, which we have seen has helped develop our players into better players.”
Pollard 🆚 Kinghorn
Steward 🆚 Boffelli
Martin 🆚 Gilchrist
Some tasty head to heads tomorrow night as @LeicesterTigers 🐯 take on @EdinburghRugby 🏰. Dan Kelly also returns to the bench for the home side 🔥
Full #HeinekenChampionsCup teams 👉 https://t.co/TAY8skUcGV pic.twitter.com/Bp0zvRYbg1
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 30, 2023
Edinburgh visit Mattioli Woods Welford Road for just the second time in their history, their last trip being in 2007, and Wigglesworth is fully aware of their quality.
“We are coming up against what is basically an international team, with about 20 Test players in the side for Friday night, and know it will be big challenge,” he said.
“They have shown great form in Europe this season and we saw what they did to Saracens. Edinburgh are a quality outfit.
“They have nothing else to play for this season and so we know how big this for them, as they’ve said, but it’s huge for us as well.
“It’s a knockout European fixture, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, and so – like every week, we get the chance to go out and represent Leicester Tigers. We’ll be giving it our everything.”