BENETTON TREVISO 29
Richard Cockerill praised his Leicester team's never-say-die attitude after they came from behind to clinch victory away to Benetton Treviso yesterday.
The English champions were on course for a shock opening Heineken Cup defeat at Stadio Comunale di Monigo until Alesana Tuilagi's try three minutes from time. That score secured a bonus-point victory for the Tigers following earlier tries from Matt Smith, Craig Newby, Martin Castrogiovanni and Ben Youngs.
"It is a good result to get a win away from home in the first round of the Heineken Cup," said Cockerill, Leicester Tigers director of rugby. "We scored five tries and got the bonus point against a good Treviso side and that gives us a good start to the campaign.
"If anyone was under any illusions about Treviso then they won't be now. We didn't take them lightly at all, they have a game-plan and they play it well.
"We needed to score in the last couple of minutes to win the game and we ran out from under our own posts, held on to it and finished it well. We must have gone through a dozen phases to score to win. That says a lot for the guys."
The late try denied the Italian champions a first victory over English opponents since beating Bath in 2004, and their losing bonus point was scant consolation after such a promising performance.
"We were right in that game to the final whistle," said assistant Treviso coach Marius Goosen. "We gave away a few soft tries but Leicester had the experience to close out these games when our boys were tiring."
Scorers -- Treviso: T Benvenuti 2 tries, 1 drop; C Burton 3 pens, 2 con, 1drop. Leicester: C Newby, M Castrogiovanni, A Tuilagi, B Youngs, M Smith try, B Twelvetrees 1 pen, 3 con
Treviso: L McLean (J Maddock 48); L Nitoglia (S Picone 78), T Benvenuti, A Sgarbi, A Vilk; C Burton, F Semenzato (T Botes 48); I Rouyet (F Sbaraglini 35), L Ghiraldin (Diego Vidal 48), L Cittadini (P Di Santo 48), A Pavanello (E Pavanello 61), C van Zyl, R Barbieri, A Zanni, P Derbyshire
Leicester: G Murphy; S Hamilton, H Agulla, M Smith, A Tuilagi; B Twelvetrees, B Youngs; B Stankovich, G Chuter (R Hawkins 58), M Castrogiovanni (D Cole 58), E Slater, G Skivington, T Croft, C Newby, T Waldrom.
Referee: P Gauzere (Fra)