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Leicester Tigers and Pau renew their European Cup rivalry in the Challenge Cup for the first time on Saturday in a Pool 5 game at Welford Road, which is the Tigers’ first match in the tournament.
Previously, they have met four times in European competition, with Leicester winning three of the ties, including a pool double in 2000/01, when the Tigers lifted the trophy.
- Pau’s last eight matches in the Challenge Cup have all been won by the home side, the 2000 winners notching four wins and four defeats in that run.
- Pau conceded just four first-half tries in the Challenge Cup last season, the fewest in the tournament.
- England backs George Ford and Manu Tuilagi played more minutes in the Heineken Champions Cup in 2018/19 than any other Leicester player at 391 and 379 respectively.
🗣️ “The Premiership is relentless and a great competition, but playing in Europe gives us a bit of a new lease of life.”
Calum Green discusses this Saturday's European opener at Welford Road.https://t.co/E6Bvm4fRKc
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) November 14, 2019
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Four tries from Welsh winger Jonah Holmes propelled Leicester Tigers to a 41-20 victory over Pau at Welford Road in their first ever European Rugby Challenge Cup encounter.
After an early exchange of penalties by George Ford and Tom Taylor, Leicester took a grip through a 13th-minute try from George Worth, who had only been on the field a few minutes after replacing the injured Sam Aspland-Robinson. Two minutes later, Holmes got his first try of the afternoon after intercepting a loose Pau pass deep in their own territory. Ford converted both.
Pau responded though, with scrum-half Thibault Daubagna going over from close range after a long spell of pressure on the Tigers line.
👍👍👍👍@JonahHolmes24 crosses 'four'* another try …
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) November 16, 2019
However, Leicester re-established their 14-point advantage when Holmes added his second after a lovely offload from Ford unleashed the Welshman down the right wing. Ford again converted. A Pau penalty right on the whistle made it 24-13 at half time.
Holmes completed his hat-trick five minutes after the break after a flowing back-line move, with Ford once again unerring from the tee. Thereafter, Leicester’s pack repelled several strong Pau attacks until lock Fabric Metz bundled over on 66 minutes, with Taylor converting, to make it 31-20.
Noel Reid’s boot added three points for the Tigers before Holmes racked up his fourth try following fine work in the build-up by Ben White and debutant Jaco Taute. Reid’s conversion completed the scoring.