Tigers owe it to Tim

Heineken Cup: Stimpson punishes Pau as Tigers are quick to make an impression
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The Independent Online

Leicester pulled themselves out of an unhappy run and got their European campaign off to a good start with what was eventually a convincing victory over an indisciplined Pau side. The Tigers will need to sharpen up against better sides if they are to make any impact on the tournament.

Leicester pulled themselves out of an unhappy run and got their European campaign off to a good start with what was eventually a convincing victory over an indisciplined Pau side. The Tigers will need to sharpen up against better sides if they are to make any impact on the tournament.

There was a yellow streak running through Pau. The French side were the recipients of three yellow cards, the second (for offside) and the third (for stamping) collected by prop Pierre Triep-Capdeville, which earned him a red card at the end of what was a rugged and untidy game.

Pau had been unable to get their paws on the ball for the first quarter or so, and when they did they instantly squirted it out of their possession again. Leicester had no such problems. The way they hung on to the ball suggested they might have been practising with a bar of soap all week.

Certainly Leicester posed the greater threat. Pau were like Atlantic breakers crashing against the rocks of the Tigers' defence. In addition to their ineptitude in contact, the French side offered little in the way of attacking options.

Tigers' discipline was exemplary, at least until towards the end of the first half, when they allowed David Aucagne to knock over a couple of penalties. But by then Tim Stimpson was well on the way to his 23-point haul, punishing French indiscipline, and Andy Goode had sent a drop goal sailing between the uprights.

It took Pau almost until half- time to string together any phases; when they did it was Philippe Carbonneau and Lionel Mallier who masterminded the progress upfield. Unfortunately for the French, all they could glean for some excellent work was Aucagne's second penalty.

At least it gave the illusion of keeping them in touch, but Leicester were presented with a soft opportunity to increase their advantage right from the kick-off of the second half. The ball bobbled and skidded through successive pairs of Pau hands and Pat Howard got very close to winning the race to the touchdown.

Leicester were awarded the five-metre scrum and, in a display of textbook control, shunted the French pack over the line far enough to allow scrum-half Jamie Hamilton - in the side for the hamstrung Austin Healey - to burrow his way over. Stimpson added the necessary.

That should have signalled the start of something big for Leiceste; instead it triggered some serious application and creativity on the part of Pau. They marshalled their thoughts and their forces and finally made for the right end of the pitch. Having swung down the left, the quick-witted Carbonneau slung out a long pass to Damien Traille, who was left an obligingly large gap to cut through as the Tigers defence hung off him.

Five minutes later and Tigers were looking even sicker as Aucagne took advantage of more good work by the forwards to knock up a perfect cross-kick for the unmarked Pascal Bomati. Aucagne's conversion left the 12,000-strong crowd muted.

The Tigers regrouped and hit back within three minutes, Howard, who had an excellent game, scuttling through a press of Pau players from close range.

The Tigers then launched a further wave of attacks and Pau infringed twice too often. The first time saw them lose a second player to the sin-bin when Triep-Capdeville was shown his first yellow.

Leicester opted for the scrum at the consequent penalty, the Pau front row broke ranks and Leicester were awarded a penalty try. Stimpson then added a fifth penalty goal and it really did look all over.

It wasn't quite. Neil Back, doing what he does so well, took the ball from a five-metre line-out and was driven over for the final try. Stimpson duly landed the conversion and the dismissal, for the second time in the match, of Triep-Capdeville, this time for a stamping offence, put the seal on an unhappy day for Pau.

Leicester: T Stimpson; G Murphy, L Lloyd (O Smith, 76), P Howard, W Stanley; A Goode, J Hamilton; D Jelley (G Rowntree, 54), D West (R Cockerill, 71), D Garforth (R Nebbett, 77), M Johnson (capt), B Kay (P Short, 71), P Gustard, M Corry (A Balding, 69), N Back.

Pau: X Cambres; P Bomati, J-C Cistacq, D Traille, L Arbo; D Aucagne (capt), P Carbonneau; P Triep-Capdeville, M Dal Maso (J Rey, 39-41), D Laperne (S Bria, 59), A Charron, A Lagouarde (T Cleda, 59), L Mallier, I Harinordoquy (N Bacque, 62; D Laperne 67), A Agueb (G Combes, 62).

Referee: R Dickson (Ireland).

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