Bath and Tigers on collision course
January 26, 2009
Bath boss Steve Meehan is looking forward to his side's Heineken Cup quarter-final with Leicester © Getty Images
Bath and Leicester will meet in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup after securing qualification this weekend, with both sides putting troubled times behind them for now.
The Tigers progressed as Pool winners despite their 15-9 loss to the Ospreys and will now host their old rivals Bath, who also topped their group after a draw with Toulouse at the Rec. With Leicester currently under the temporary stewardship of forwards coach Richard Cockerill as Heyneke Meyer continues to deal with family illness in South Africa and Bath still under the cloud of Matt Stevens' drugs shame, it is an opportune time for the sides to have a grudge European tie to anticipate.
"Leicester will bring out the best in Bath, and vice-versa," said Bath head coach Steve Meehan. "To reach the last eight in Europe represents a pretty good effort. Our target at the beginning of the season was to finish top of our group, and one of the sides in our group was Toulouse.
"We will have a few players back from injury for the Leicester game, and the squad will be better prepared. I am sure it will be a very competitive game."
The two sides met just before Christmas in the Premiership, with two tries from England flanker Tom Croft snatching a win for Leicester after they overcame a 22-9 deficit. Cockerill was proud of his side's achievements and believes that they can push on despite their recent troubles.
"The last four weeks have been tough for everybody but credit goes to the players, the board and coaches," he told BBC Radio Leicestershire. "We've dealt with issues and we've worked hard and got some reward.
"We're in a relatively good position in the Premiership with 10 games to go and we're in the quarter finals of the European Cup, so for once let's be proud of what we've achieved."
Leicester could soon have more trouble on their plate however, with a disciplinary cloud still hanging over prop Julian White after accusations of gouging from the Ospreys management.
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