Pelous aims to pile on the pressure
December 15, 2007
Fabien Pelous hopes Leicester will feel the heat when they take on Toulouse in a crucial Heineken Cup clash tomorrow.
Leicester, European champions in 2001 and 2002, must beat the three-time cup winners to keep alive quarter-final hopes that were dented by an opening weekend defeat against Leinster.
Tigers defeated Toulouse 14-9 in the mud and rain of Welford Road last Saturday, but former France captain Pelous warned: ``It's only half-time in our battle.''
That loss was Toulouse's first defeat of the season, yet they remained as Pool Six leaders after collecting a losing bonus point.
Lock Pelous said: ``Our goal is to win and stop Leicester from taking a bonus point.
``Leicester were full of power up front and we tried to take them on it that area. Our scrum was strong, but we had a few problems in the line-out.
``We tried to build our game, but as in all matches between two big teams, the game turned on a few little things.
``Because of a small mistake, Leicester went ahead with their try, but now all the pressure is on them when they come to Toulouse.''
Leicester boss Marcelo Loffreda has made several changes, including recalls for England World Cup forwards George Chuter, Ben Kay and Lewis Moody, together with Irish international Geordan Murphy, who starts at full-back.
All Blacks centre Aaron Mauger though, who looked well short of match sharpness on his debut last weekend, drops to the bench as Ollie Smith and Dan Hipkiss forge Tigers' midfield partnership.
Tigers skipper Martin Corry said: ``The pitch dictated the way the game went last Saturday, and it was error-ridden as a result.
``It will be a faster track in Toulouse and a completely different atmosphere.
``We didn't play our best rugby, but we know there is more to come.''
Current form suggests Pool Three contenders Bristol should remain on a quarter-final course by seeing off Memorial Stadium visitors Harlequins tomorrow.
Bristol beat Quins 17-3 a week ago, but the west country club's head coach Richard Hill is braced for a backlash.
Hill said: ``The word coming out of the Harlequins camp is that they've had a right old beasting this week, particularly on full contact.
``They will bring a highly-motivated squad and will be looking to get their season back on track.
``We will probably have to produce a better performance than last weekend, but we've had an outstanding week of training, so I am happy.''
Wing Anthony Elliott, prop Darren Crompton, flanker Joe El Abd and number eight Dan Ward-Smith all gain starts for Bristol, while Quins boss Dean Richards has made numerous changes, with international trio De Wet Barry, Andy Gomarsall and Nick Easter among those who don't feature.
Munster, meanwhile, can continue Llanelli Scarlets' dismal Heineken Cup campaign by claiming an anticipated victory at Thomond Park tomorrow.
But Munster rugby director Declan Kidney has delivered a warning that Llanelli - despite failing to collect a point in Pool Five so far this term - should not be underestimated.
Kidney said: ``It is hugely important we remember the Scarlets are a very good side and that we will need all our experience for this game.
``The Scarlets are not gone - they are still going to have an effect on this group.
``While it was a huge achievement going over to Llanelli and winning last Saturday, very few sides get the better of them two weekends running.''
In the European Challenge Cup tomorrow, Newcastle's hopes of a quarter-final spot will be revived if they beat Kingston Park visitors Connacht, while unbeaten Pool Five leaders Leeds Carnegie visit Calvisano.
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