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Cockerill wants Leicester to make history in Clermont

| 04.04.2014

Richard Cockerill insists Clermont Augvergne’s intimidating record at the Stade Marcel Michelin gives Leicester the chance at making history.

Les Jaunardsare, who are the 9/4 favourites to lift the cup, are on a run of 74 consecutive victories at home dating back to 2009 and they are 1/8 with Ladbrokes to extend that winning run against the Tigers.

But Cockerill’s side, who are on at 5/1 with the bookie, are not averse to making history themselves and back in 2007 they became the first Heineken Cup team to beat Munster in front of their home fans at Thormand Park.

They will need to show the same sort of determination when they travel to France and the Tigers Director of Rugby believes they can cause an upset to reach the semi-finals of a competition they last won in 2002.

“For once the expectation isn’t on us. If we win it would be a huge result in the history of the club,” said Cockerill.

“It’s probably the toughest place to go for a quarter-final, but it gives us the chance to make some history with their home record.

“They will lose that record at some point, why can’t it be on Saturday at 5pm? Like all sides they’re vulnerable on their day.”

Welshman Owen Williams is set to continue in the pivotal fly-half role for Leicester with Toulouse-bound Toby Flood staying on the replacements bench.

The 22-year-old was third choice behind both Flood and Ryan Lamb when he joined the Welford Road outfit in the summer but his excellent form in recent weeks will see him keep the number 10 jersey.

This European clash looks to have come a week early for British and Irish Lions lock Geoff Parling as he steps-up his return from injury, while England flanker Tom Croft looks set to miss the rest of the season.

For those interested in the handicap markets Leicester are 10/11 to win with 12 point head start but with just three of Clermont’s 14 victories in front of their home fans this season coming by a single-figure margin, it could be wise to back the home side to overcome the 12 point deficit at the same price.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Oliver Yew