Leicester Tigers gave the senior squad a first run-out of the summer in a 35-26 victory over Jersey Reds on Friday.
The game was hosted at the Championship club’s Stade Santander International at the end of the Tigers’ fourth visit to the Channel Islands, with a number of travelling supporters making themselves heard in a 1,500 crowd.
Steve Borthwick named a 30-man squad for the start of the pre-season programme – the second game is at home to Newcastle Falcons next Friday – including seven players who arrived at the club in the summer.
Olly Cracknell, Jimmy Gopperth, Phil Cokanasiga and Anthony Watson were all in the line-up for kick-off in the 5.00pm sunshine, with Joe Taufete'e, James Cronin and Lachlan Shelley among the replacements.
Jersey included two former Tigers Academy players in their ranks, with on-loan Jonny Law at scrum-half and Scotland age-group prop Sam Grahamslaw among the replacements.
A 50-metre charge from Harry Wells, picking up loose ball at the back of a lineout, set the position for the opening score as the Reds were penalised in bringing him to ground and the second-rower then claimed lineout ball for Charlie Clare to drive the maul over the line on 13 minutes. Freddie Burns added the conversion.
Dan Cole and George Martin led the defensive resistance close to their own tryline when the Reds built play through their forwards, but the hosts were eventually rewarded with a try for wing Ryan Hutler in the left-hand corner.
After Cokanasiga broke out of two tackles in attack on the right, fellow newcomer Cracknell got the first of two tries in a three-minute spell just after the half-hour mark.
The first was finished under a pile of bodies at a lineout drive, before pushing his way over next to the left-hand post for a double, both converted by Burns.
Cronin was then credited with the fourth try from another drive and Burns brought the half to a close with the successful kick for a 28-5 lead.
Both teams made changes at half-time, with Cameron Henderson among the six early replacements for Tigers, but Jersey claimed three tries, starting with a finish from replacement wing Ben Woollett.
Reds captain Lewis Wynne got the second, picking up to score from a breakdown before Bryce Hegarty, replacing Burns at 10 at the interval, followed an offload from Hanro Liebenberg to score and then covert the fifth try to make it 19-35.
But replacement James Hadfield ran in the final try for Jersey with 10 minutes remaining, Brendan Cope adding the conversion.
Final score is Jersey Reds 26 Leicester Tigers 35
Cope kicks the conversion for Jersey.
Ben Woollett attacks on the right and Reds replacement James Hadfield is in support to score.
Hegarty is back on his feet to add the conversion kick.
Bryce Hegarty races on to good work from Cronin and Liebenberg to score under the posts for Tigers.
Brendan Cope adds the conversion for the home team.
Reds skipper Lewis Wynne picks up and races through to score.
The conversion is a good one for the reds.
Bouncing ball is read by wing Ben Woollett who scores on the right.
HALF TIME and Tigers lead 28-5.
Freddie Burns kicks his fourth conversion as the half comes to a close with Tigers 28-5 in front.
James Cronin has the fourth try for Tigers, in possession from a lineout drive.
Burns puts over the conversion.
Olly Cracknell scores again, this time pushing over the line next to the left-hand post for the third Tigers try.
Freddie Burns adds the conversion despite the swirling wind across the posts.
Olly Cracknell is at the bottom of a pile of bodies to score for Tigers from a maul.
Jersey are over in the left-hand corner after pressure from the forwards.
Freddie Burns converts the opening score from Charlie Clare.
Charlie Clare scores the opening points with a try from a lineout drive.
The pre-season programme has started.