Following the side's pre-season fixture away at Henley Hawks, Leicester Tigers captain Natasha Jones spoke to LeicesterTigers.com around how it feels to be back on the field, how pre-season is going and some of the new faces fans can look forward to seeing at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
Leicester Tigers: Back in the saddle today, first match in four months, how does it feel to be back competing with this team?
Natasha Jones: Feels brilliant! It's been a long time coming but it's great to be back with the girls. Seeing all these old and new faces back in the Tigers shirt, it's an exciting time.
LT: We’ve been in pre-season for nearly nine weeks, how different does it feel going into this season compared to last?
NJ: I feel like we've had a very good preparation. There's been so much hard work going into pre-season, all around our overall fitness but also around ensuring we gel as a team. Despite the hard work, I feel a lot more calm going into 2023/24 compared to our first ever season last year. It's just a really exciting time to be involved, not just with joining the Premiership but we've got great ideas that we will be looking to implement. We set a great platform today.
LT: Can you feel a substantial difference in the way we’re trying to play, how we approach the game?
NJ: Absolutely. We're giving multi-options off of all of our set-plays, we always want to use our width, we're trying to implement very expansive passages of play. We're more than happy to truck it up the middle when we need to but we're all about options.
LT: Lots of new faces on the field today, anyone stand out in particular?
NJ: Speaking as a back, Amanda Swartz. She brought loads of great communication in the backline and some searing pace onto the ball. When we needed to move it out wide she was a consistently effective option, always picking her lines well. It was exciting to watch her today.
LT: There’s now less than three weeks till the first official game of the season, away to Sale in the Allianz Cup; from your perspective are there any specific work ons in that time period or is it just generally tightening things up?
NJ: We can definitely tighten up all areas of our game. We're not the finished article yet. We will be looking to bring further options into our attacking play and further shore up our defence. I'm happy with how we've played today but keen to add a bit more to keep spicing things up!