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Monday Dec 18, 2023

The 'double ball' moment that almost changed a Champions Cup result

Leicester Tigers dug deep to secure a 24-27 away victory over Stade Francais in the Champions Cup on Sunday, in a tense match that could have gone either way, right up until the final minute.

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Despite both sides missing a few key players, the on-field roster was still packed full to the brim with quality talent, ready to take the Paris night by storm. The occasion started off tetchy, with neither side really setting the pink-filled stadium alight, with the limited number of fans unable to truly ignite the spark necessary. For those in the stadium, the atmosphere emitted unstable nerves rather than over joyous excitement from both sides.

As the match progressed, the scene became tighter and tighter, with so little to choose between the two sides. Leicester were aching to pull away, but their hosts wouldn’t allow them out of reach. This continued right up until the final stages when Stade Francais elected to boot the ball into the corner in an effort to win the match instead of settling for a draw.

It was the resulting lineout that caused confusion and stress for those on and off the field, as a ball thrown from the stand bounced past the waiting ball boys, and onto the pitch. The referee, who many will agree had a terrific game, had to call a timeout to proceedings and reset at a scrum. With Leicester players complaining that it was a Stade Francais fan that had thrown the ball in, referee Nika Amashukeli explained that it was a unique infringement, so a scrum was the decision.

Leicester eventually turned the ball over as they held on for a terrific victory. The jubilant celebrations at the end truly marked what a brilliant defensive effort it was to hold on.

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