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Page last updated at 19:15 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 20:15 UK

I enjoyed pressure kick - Crane

Leicester's Jordan Crane
Crane withstood the pressure to give Leicester a 7-6 win in the penalty shoot-out

Leicester's Jordan Crane relished the chance to land the match-winning kick against Cardiff Blues as the Heineken Cup semi-final went to a shoot-out.

The teams were locked at 26-26 after extra-time, and Cardiff's Tom James had the first chance to win the penalty shoot-out but hooked his effort wide.

Tigers forward Crane calmly converted from the 22-metre line to clinch it.

"I actually enjoyed it. I've taken a few in training, although I am in no hurry to take another kick," he said.

He is a confident young man and that sort of stage is made for him

Richard Cockerill on Crane

"I always have a little go at kicking with Julien (Dupuy) after training. I think I preferred the pressure after he [Martyn Williams] missed, than having to get it. It was great to see it go over."

Crane's team-mate Tom Croft said: "Either myself or Harry Ellis were up for the next one, and I was asking Matt Smith for some tips, so thank God it ended when it did.

"It was pretty brutal watching it. You start to see what players go through in football when they have these penalty shoot-outs. It was a real mixture of emotions."

Leicester coach Richard Cockerill said of Crane: "He is a confident young man and he played semi-pro football as a young man. That sort of stage is made for him.

"I spend my whole time telling the forwards not to kick goals after training so maybe I have got it wrong!"

The match looked to have slipped away from the Premiership side when Johne Murphy was the first to miss in the shoot-out but James could not convert the opportunity and, after Martyn Williams also missed from the 22, Crane stepped up to be the match-winner.

"When Johne missed his kick I was fully prepared for them to get theirs but I feel very sorry for the guys that missed," said Tigers captain Geordan Murphy. "It is a horrible way to go out.

606: DEBATE
Davo233

"We didn't want to win it like that, and it is not a fantastic way to win, to be honest. We will have to play a lot better in the final."

Cockerill agreed with his captain that penalties were not the ideal way to settle the match.

"It was a bit disappointing for both sides how it ended," he said. "I think we have got to look at that because it is pretty unusual for it to get that far.

"I thought we played some really good stuff but the two sin-binnings were crucial and the energy we used defending during that period took it out of us.

"They had the ascendancy mentally at the start of extra-time, but the spirit and fight in our team is fantastic. There were times when they could have capitulated but they hung in there."

Leicester go on to face Leinster in the final at Murrayfield on 23 May.

"It will be very sweet for me playing against Leinster, my home province," added Murphy.

"It has been a special honour leading Leicester for the last few weeks, and it will be nice to walk out alongside 'Drico' (Brian O'Driscoll) and some of the (Ireland) boys, but we will have to up our game for the final."



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see also
Cardiff Blues 26-26 Leicester (aet)
03 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Blues v Leicester as it happened
03 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Scrum V's Welsh rugby webguide
14 Aug 07 |  Welsh


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