Opposition view | Geordan Murphy and Tom Youngs

Opposition view | Geordan Murphy and Tom Youngs

Ahead of their visit for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup game at Kingspan Stadium, we caught up with Leicester Tigers Head Coach Geordan Murphy and captain Tom Youngs.


How would you sum up your pool this season?

With Ulster, Racing 92 and Scarlets in the pool we will certainly have our work cut out for us, but I think the players are very excited about it. They want to get out there and they want to play against the best in Europe and give a good account of themselves. Hopefully we can do well in the Champions Cup.

Just for you personally and for Leicester as a team, what does the Heineken Champions Cup represent?

It’s obviously very special to me. As a player, I was very lucky to win it on two occasions. I also lost in two finals, which will probably be up there as two of the biggest regrets in my rugby career. To go out there and to get through the group stage is fantastic, and once you get to the knockout stages, it all happens very quickly.

What are your thoughts on taking on Ulster?

It’s going to be a very difficult place for us. We’ve been there before, we’ve struggled there before, so we’ve got to go and make sure we get our game right.

We really just have to focus on our game and respect Ulster and give them their dues because they’re a quality side. They’ve had a tough couple of weeks as well, so undoubtedly they’ll want to have a huge start to the competition.

We’re a quality side. If we get some bodies in a little bit of form on the park, we’ll have an opportunity to give a good account of ourselves, and who knows what can happen?

What do you make of Kingspan Stadium?

It’s a great venue. The crowd are very vocal. They’ll get in and they’ll really support their team and we’ve probably not got it right there before, so we’ll need to tidy up our game.


How would you sum up your pool this season?

We’ve obviously got a really tough pool again this year. You’ve got last year’s finalists in it (Racing 92), you’ve got one of the semi-finalists (Scarlets) and then you’ve got Ulster as well.

But the excitement around the competition is always great. I absolutely love it and you get to play against some massive teams in Europe. You get to play against some world-class players, so it’s always very exciting.

What is it that makes the Heineken Champions Cup so special?

I think it’s that; you just get to play against different sides. You get to play against massive teams in Europe. You get to play against some guys that you would probably never get the opportunity to play against on the same field.

How are you approaching the opening game against Ulster?

It’s a tough, tough place to go. We’ve always got beaten fairly well there; we’ve never had the best record there. But again, if you want to achieve things in European rugby, you have to go to tough places and you have to win.

We’ve got a massive challenge with Ulster straight away, away from home as well, and their fans will be right on top of us. As a player, you want to be tested and you want to be in some really tough environments.

That’s when you can sometimes see the best in your team and sometimes you can see the worst in your team, if you don’t perform particularly well. You want to be tested as a professional. You don’t want an easy ride and we’ve definitely got a tough pool to try to get through.

Tickets, priced from £14 for children and £20 for adults, are available now at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.