Clermont coach Jono Gibbes praised Leicester Tigers for their overall efficiency as the Premiership leaders knocked his side out of the Champions Cup in the Round of 16.
Tigers claimed a 27-17 second-leg victory at home to win by 29 points on aggregate in a solid performance by Steve Borthwick’s men.
Ruthless in the attacking 22
Gibbes was impressed by how clinical the Tigers were in the attacking 22 and commended the efficiency of the Leicester side.
“They just don’t burn energy in the 22, they get down there, get their work done and they leave,” he said. “We’ve seen in both games we use up a lot of energy in the 22 and we tire out because we’re going as hard as we can.
“I think they’re just a little bit more efficient in how they do things. Even in the way they exit, they can shift the point, one pass, chase lines already in place.
“It was important for us to have a response, they scored five tries – three off set-piece – two off high-balls last week at our home ground last week. No matter which stage of the evolution teams is in for us that’s pretty hard to ship 29 points at home. So there was a response demanded and I thought the guys that turned up tonight, they gave a response.”
Leicester march on to the quarter-finals setting up a mouth-watering clash with United Rugby Championship leaders Leinster. Gibbes believes the Irish giants will bring a different challenge and will be a tough clash for Borthwick’s men.
“They’re going to get a real test with Leinster,” said Gibbes. “Leinster will be a different threat to how we play. It’ll be a big challenge for them. You sense they [Tigers] are built on substance, the way they play, they have a lot of things that are repeatable, they’re not exactly X-factor things but they’re just things they can repeat, week in week out and build confidence with
“A big part of that has to be, credit to Steve [Borthwick] that he’s got buy-in and players that work off the ball for the other players.
“They do these things, that are not very sparkly or shiny but they are just so necessary. I think they’ll be comfortable here at [Mattioli Woods Welford Road]. But I think Leinster, they’ve got the pedigree, they’re a little bit ahead in their development but it’ll be a hell of a game.”
The 45-year-old rues missed opportunities in the first leg but feels there is work to be done to get his side to the level they hope to be at.
“The total aggregate, obviously there’s a difference between them and us. I thought through the two games we had opportunities and maybe the differential could’ve been a little bit different if we’d taken our opportunities last week. But ultimately we need to start working on bridging the gap between where we are today and where we want to get to. Today was a great experience for us,” he concluded.