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Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Saturday, 11 April 2009 20:50 UK

Cockerill lauds half-back heroes

Julien Dupuy makes the break for Leicester's match-winning try
Dupuy makes the break for Leicester's match-winning try

Acting coach Richard Cockerill paid tribute to half-backs Julien Dupuy and Sam Vesty after they guided Leicester into the Heineken Cup semi-finals.

Replacement Dupuy's last-gasp score snatched victory after Vesty's five penalties kept the Tigers in touch.

"Julien should be in the France team. He has proved before what a class player he is," said Cockerill.

"Sam is a fantastic player and a great footballer. If he had a little bit more pace he could probably go a long way."

Vesty, who has been in prime form for the past few months, was switched to fly-half when England number 10 Toby Flood withdrew beforehand with a dead leg.

But he landed five penalties from five attempts before watching Dupuy, a second-half replacement for England scrum-half Harry Ellis, dummy the entire Bath defence before evading Joe Maddock's desperate tackle.

"It was great foresight from Julien," Vesty said. "There was nothing on, he did the 360 degree swivel and managed to get it under the posts - elation.


"I am surprised we have got any supporters left. They must have heart attacks every week the way we keep leaving it to the last minute.

"The forwards absolutely dominated but we didn't really get great territory or create too many chances. But the forwards kept turning the ball over for us.

"In a Heineken Cup quarter-final, you take a win any way you get it."

Bath captain Michael Lipman denied his fellow forwards were outmuscled.

"I didn't think we got beaten up at all," he said. "If anything we had it over them in the scrum.

"Their line-out was a bit better but as a physical battle it was quite even.

It is not like we played poorly. We played well, it was just an unfortunate result

Bath coach Steve Meehan

"It is disappointing the way it ended, but I was quite happy with my players. They got the hunger back which was missing the last couple of weeks.

"I think the bounce of the ball went their way. They didn't do anything special. We just gave away too much ball with turnovers at the breakdown.

"But hopefully we will learn from this and beat Newcastle next week."

Bath, currently occupying the fourth and final play-off spot in the Guinness Premiership, travel to face the Falcons next Sunday before hosting Saracens on the final day of the regular season.

"We could quite easily have been the winners," lamented Bath head coach Steve Meehan. "It is not like we played poorly. We played well, it was just an unfortunate result.

"If we take that sort of passion and effort into the next two games then I am sure we will be in the semis."

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see also
Leicester 20-15 Bath
11 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union

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