Heineken Cup: Richard Cockerill upbeat ahead of Leicester trip to Clermont
Last Updated: 01/04/14 5:07pm
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill insists Clermont's intimidating home record offers the Tigers the chance to make history in Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final in France.
Clermont, last year’s beaten finalists, have amassed 74 consecutive victories at the Stade Marcel Michelin, in a sequence dating back to 2009 and are overwhelming favourites to reach the last four.
However, Cockerill has invoked the spirit of 2007 when Leicester became the first Heineken Cup team to win at Munster's Thomond Park to inspire their passage into the semi-finals.
And having been part of the Tigers side that established a 57-game unbeaten run from 1997 to 2002, the club's director of rugby knows that level of home dominance can also be a burden.
"We're going there with the mindset that it's a great opportunity for us," Cockerill said.
"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.
"It's like going to Thomond Park in 2007. 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.
"For once the expectation isn't on us. We're expected to get beaten so we can go there with the shackles off.
"We'll throw everything at them and see where we get to. If we win it would be a huge result in the history of the club.
It's like going to Thomond Park in 2007. 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.
"With a record like theirs sometimes you worry more about not losing than winning, getting through it rather than performing.
"Montpellier is the top team in the Top 14 and we beat them home and away in the pool stages. Maybe that's a good omen for us."
Cockerill indicated that Welshman Owen Williams is likely to continue at fly-half against Clermont with club captain Toby Flood remaining on the bench.
British and Irish Lions lock Geoff Parling is a "week or two" away from returning from his shoulder injury, while flanker Tom Croft is unlikely to play again this season.
Watch Clermont take on Leicester live on Sky Sports 2HD from 4pm on Saturday.