Leicester Tigers scored three tries as they kicked off a trio of pre-season fixtures with victory over Jersey Reds on Friday.
Running out at the Stade Santander International in St Peter for the first time in the club’s 2021/22 match kit and led out by scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet, Tigers included nine summer signings in a 24-man squad alongside academy graduates Jacob Cusick, Joe Browning and Archie Vanes as they registered a 17-7 victory.
A crowd of more than 1,700 enjoying the sunshine greeted the players for the 5.00pm kick-off, with both teams wearing black armbands as a mark of respect for Charles Olowfela, father of Tigers academy graduates Jordan and Ryan, who passed away earlier this week.
Tonga international Hosea Saumaki provided the second on 18 minutes, capitalising on scrum possession to break free on the left touchline.
Gareth Evans had already joined the action by that stage and Nephi Leatigaga soon made his comeback from injury as a replacement. But the Reds claimed the next score, defending a driving maul near their own line before seeing Ryan Olowofela latch on to loose ball in midfield and race clear to dot down. The conversion made it 7-12 at half-time.
Harry Simmons, on a season-long loan from Tigers, and former colleague Guy Thompson were among the second-half replacements for the hosts, while Eli Snymann and Dan Richardson were given a first run-out by Steve Borthwick.
Snymann immediately set up two lineout drives and, although Tigers dominated possession and territory for the entire second half, they had to wait until the hour mark for a third try when teenager Jacob Cusick – with his first touch of the ball – dived in on the right following a close-range scrum.
Tigers are back on home ground next Saturday when the Dragons are the visitors (2.00pm). Entry is free to season ticket holders, and match tickets are on sale now to all other supporters.
The new Gallagher Premiership season kicks off at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday, September 18 (3.00pm) when Exeter Chiefs are the visitors. Tickets are on sale now, including early bird places at just £15 adults, £5 juniors. Book online, or phone the Tigers ticket office on 0116 319 8888 (option 2).