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Clare buzzing ahead of dream debut

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It has been a long time coming for Charlie Clare and, now the moment has arrived, the hooker cannot wait to achieve his childhood dream of representing Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

The front-rower graduated from the Tigers Academy in 2011 after a decorated age-grade career, including international honours, but never made a senior-team appearance over two seasons during his first stint at the club.

Any time you pull on the Tigers shirt is special, it doesn't matter who the opposition is

Clare spent time at Nottingham, Loughborough Students, Jersey, Bedford, Northampton Saints and Bedford again before returning to Tigers this summer.

In the opening round of this season's Premiership Rugby Cup, Clare achieved his long-time goal of playing senior rugby for the club where he made his name as a youngster and now - after being named in the squad for Sunday's Gallagher Premiership showdown with Saracens - the 28-year-old is "buzzing" at the prospect of representing the Tigers at the historic Leicester venue.

"I feel really good, I'm pretty excited," said Clare.

"It was always my dream to run out here for Tigers at Welford Road.

"I am absolutely buzzing for it."

There is no bigger test in the current game than Saracens, and Clare admits that it adds a little more to an already important fixture for the squad, who need to bounce back after a disappointing performance in Round 1 at Worcester Warriors.

"Any time you pull on the Tigers shirt is special, it doesn't matter who the opposition is," he said.

"But it means a little bit extra if it against the current Premiership champions.

"For us, this weekend, it is all about us getting our things right after a disappointing performance last week.

"We need to bounce back from that."

The hooker also believes that the key to success for this crop of Tigers players, still without nine members of the squad away on international duty or having only returned this week, is backing their ability and plans set in place by the coaching staff.

"We're working so hard ... it's about building on that and sticking to our plans, sticking to our formations.

"It will come good ... it's just about executing those things we have worked hard on."

Clare's good mate and former Academy skipper Calum Green will lead the side in Tom Youngs' absence and the front-rower believes the lock is just the man for the job.

"It is great to see Calum doing so well," said Clare.

"He has really fitted into that leadership role. I am really pleased for him in how much he has taken to that role.

"To be able to play alongside Cal again is pretty cool."