Champions Cup: Leicester Tigers captain Ellis Genge says his team could have beaten Leinster

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Leicester Tigers captain Ellis Genge believes his side could have won their Champions Cup game against Leinster after being knocked out in the quarter-finals.

A high powered Leinster, loaded with 13 internationals, claimed a 23-14 victory over the Tigers to set up a colossal semi-final tie with defending champions, Toulouse.

More than just ‘plucky losers’

Genge defended his team’s performance and did not want to be labelled “plucky losers” while complementing Leinster’s quality.

“We came out there and we fought as hard as we could. They have 13 internationals but don’t put us in that bracket of ‘we gave it a good crack’. We could have won that game,” Genge said.

“Our boys fought all game so I’m not going to come here for someone to say we gave it a good crack and we’re plucky losers.

“I don’t want to give an excuse and say they had two weeks off and we were knackered. I would play again now if it meant we had another crack of the whip.

“Being centrally contracted, they benefit from being able to rest players as and when. I’m just upset at the missed opportunity.

“I’m gutted because of the difference from the first half to the second half. From 20-0 down to win the second half 14-3 shows where we should have been at.

“They are a brilliant side and if you play like that in the first half against a team like that then you are going to get punished.

“It’s hard to win from 20-0 down. We did not stop fighting. We did what we did all year for 40 minutes, I just wish we had done it for 80 minutes.”

Leinster coach Leo Cullen is always looking to improve, and his side turns their attention to Toulouse.

“We had really good intent in the first half in attack and in defence. We put Tigers under a fair bit of pressure when they had the ball,” he said.

“In the second half they threw the kitchen sink at us. It didn’t feel comfortable in the second half from our point of view but we’re delighted to get a win.

“There was a bit of risk because some of our guys haven’t played for the last couple of weeks and were they going to be a little shy in terms of that battle hardened piece.

“But we’ve got through to the next round and hopefully we’ll be in better shape going into next weekend. We’re going to be better.

“It’s such a massive challenge up against Toulouse, five times champions. Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd at the Aviva.”

READ MORE: Munster coach Johann van Graan ‘incredibly proud’ of his players after dramatic loss in penalty shoot-out

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