Tigers worry over Corry

Leicester Tigers head coach Pat Howard is still waiting to discover if Martin Corry will be fit to lead his team into battle in the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Stade Francais at Welford Road on Sunday.

Former England captain Corry was replaced after just 27 minutes of the EDF Energy Cup semi-final win over Sale last weekend after suffering an elbow injury that has undergone treatment this week.

“There’s a real chance he could play. There’s no structural damage. It’s just inflammation and if we can get that down, he will be able to play,” Howard said.

“We will wait until we have to announce the team on Friday before we make a decision.”

Leicester are boosted by the return of prop Martin Castrogiovanni ahead of schedule.

He suffered a knee injury in Italy’s historic win at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on February 24.

“The medics have done a phenomenal job,” said Howard.

Lock Leo Cullen is also fit after recovering from the ankle injury that kept him out of the win against Sale and Julian White should be back after being rested.

Andy Goode is set to get the nod at number 10 and Ian Humphreys will be on the bench with Howard saying Paul Burke “probably won’t be considered”.

The clash is a repeat of the 2001 final in Paris that Tigers won 34-30 to secure the first of their back-to-back Heineken Cups and honours have been even in games since then with both sides winning three apiece.

The French team’s win at Welford Road in January 2004 hastened Dean Richards’ departure from Leicester and Tigers left it late to win last season’s pool clash.

They had to overturn a 10-point deficit to win 29-22 and Howard expects another hard-fought game as Tigers bid to stay on course for a trophy treble and end four years without silverware.

“We had to produce a fantastic effort to beat them here last season and they’ve won here before, so they won’t be intimidated,” he said.

“We know nobody who gets to this stage will be intimidated by the big arenas.

“The team that turns up physical, enthusiastic and fresh is going to be the winner on the day.

“The first 20 minutes will tell you who has turned up with the right attitude.”

Howard was part of the Tigers’ team that beat Stade Francais in the 2001 final and dominated domestic rugby by winning four successive Premiership titles.

He says the current team compares favourably.

“We have more depth than in 2001 but the fixture list is far more congested now,” said Howard.

“You can look back with rose-tinted glasses, but we weren’t perfect back then and we had a significantly easier pool to come through in 2001.”

Howard played down talk of his side’s chance of claiming a trophy treble.

Leicester are second in the Guinness Premiership behind Gloucester and face Ospreys in the final of the EDF Energy Cup on April 15

“The treble is a long way off. I’m not sure we are even guaranteed a top-four place in the Premiership yet,” said Howard.

“If you look too far ahead, you end up coming a cropper.”


365 Digital

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