Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Bayonne to be a real test for Tigers

Figure image
Tigers prepare to face Bayonne away in France on Saturday evening, with acting head coach Richard Cockerill believing the size of the challenge in front of them will be a positive test of his squad.

The Guinness Premiership champions face Bristol at the Memorial Stadium on September 16 and Cockerill feels Saturday's fixture will stand Tigers in good stead ahead of their opening league fixture.

"I wanted to go away to France," says Cockerill. "It's a nine o'clock kick-off on a Saturday night. We all know from the recent goings on with Ireland that they're a very physical team and I'm really looking forward to seeing how our guys deal with that. In some ways, it's not a dissimilar fixture to going to Bristol, so hopefully that preparation will be good for us. I'm happy that we've got it in our programme and I'm confident it will be a positive experience.

"I want to see how guys deal with a different environment and different food, and all that is an important part of our preparation. Sometimes that tells you a lot about a person and a player - whether they moan about things and make excuses as to why they can't do this or that, or whether they just get on with things and do their job. I just want guys that rock up and play and win. That was our mentality last year and I want it to continue and get even stronger. I expect us to go there and win at the weekend. I don't want any excuses - I want us to go there and front up and do the job. I'll expect exactly the same when we begin our Premiership campaign."

With the first full competitive fixture now only a fortnight away, Cockerill sees the weekend's match-up as a starting point of the club's season.

"In some ways, this is the start of the season for us. I'll pick what I think will be a strong side - it might not be my first team but it will be pretty close. We've got a lot of new guys and we need to start making combinations work. We'll be looking to build on some of the combinations that we put in place against Nottingham and the guys that play on Saturday will have to put in big performances to really push their claims for a place against Bristol."