Borthwick singles out prop who ‘epitomises all the things that Leicester Tigers are about’

Leicester director of rugby Steve Borthwick applauded his aspect’s preventing spirit as they floor out a 23-16 success over Clermont Auvergne within the Heineken Champions Cup.

The Tigers crossed the road twice by Jasper Wiese and Julian Montoya, with Charlie Atkinson changing each and including three penalties.

Anthony Belleau kicked three penalties and a conversion for Clermont, with Sebastien Bezy scoring their solely strive late on.

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Leicester’s victory added to last Sunday’s 23-17 triumph over Ospreys to give them eight points in Pool B, and their next target will be to secure a home tie in the knockout stages by picking up enough points from their two remaining pool games.

Borthwick said: “In most parts we played with good intensity but we didn’t take a couple of chances.

“We allowed the game to slow down and become an arm-wrestle, which is not what we wanted, but you have to hand it to our team as they just keep fighting.

“It’s a productive two-week period as we will take two from two and we have a few players coming back now which will add to our strength.

“I’ll enjoy this win today as it’s a special club here, and I feel privileged to be part of it over the last two and a half years.”

Veteran prop Dan Cole made his 300th appearance for the club, becoming the 36th player to do so and the first since Geordan Murphy 11 years ago.

Cole made his Leicester debut against a Bath side which included Borthwick in their line-up, and the Tigers chief said: “He epitomises everything that Leicester Tigers are about. He is humble and understated, consistent in his performance every week and a role-model for any youngster.

“He’s tremendous and deserves every accolade he gets.

“He’s played a lot of years but his willingness to embrace new routines and play in a different way is remarkable.”

Borthwick also praised the performance of Atkinson, whose 13 points proved crucial in ensuring his side finished with the victory.

He said: “Charlie’s already a good player but he has enormous growth in him.

“He’s incredibly diligent and keen to learn, and his goal-kicking has improved since working with Kevin Sinfield as he hasn’t missed a kick in the last two games.”