Leicester Tigers assistant coach Brett Deacon is "looking forward" to once again taking charge of the club's Development Squad for the Premiership Shield in 2018/19.
Formerly known as the 'A-League', the Shield fixtures for the upcoming season were confirmed earlier this month and kick-off for Tigers when they welcome last year's champions Northampton Wanderers to Welford Road on Monday, September 3.
Deacon, who was last year tasked with coaching the side alongside fellow development staff Anthony Allen and Boris Stankovich, says the new name is just that and it's the opportunity for younger players at the club that he's excited about.
"I am looking forward to it," says Deacon.
"For me, it's exciting ... that those guys who train day in, day out alongside our first team and prepare them for Premiership fixtures, get this opportunity to play together in blocks of matches for the club."Brett Deacon
With a new-look Cup competition also now confirmed for the upcoming year, which sees Welsh sides removed from the formerly known Anglo-Welsh Cup, Deacon says there is even more opportunity for the Tigers next generation to show what they're made of.
"Yes, for me, there are similarities in the Premiership Rugby Cup and Premiership Shield now and that essentially adds fixtures for developing players, which is only a good thing for both the club and them in their own development," he says.
Some of those youngsters who will continue to make their way up the ladder in Leicester are those members of last season's Tigers Academy squad who went through the U18 League season unbeaten before defeating Gloucester on Grand Final Day and Deacon is confident opportunities will present themselves for those players in the Shield competition.
"There will be more chances in this season's Premiership Shield, of course," says Deacon.
"I think especially around that busy, Christmas period which I see as a biting point.
"How and when they are selected will be quite individual though, depending on how they're tracking and what they need and where they are at through their own season and development.
"We'll assess that and ask, do they need the exposure, do they need the game time?
"It's exciting for the young lads who might get the opportunity, but it will be looked at individually."
"The modern player and the environment they are in, winning is what everybody wants. Yes, there is a development feel but it's winning that drives these players."
With the emphasis undoubtedly placed on success in both Premiership and European Champions Cup competitions, there are occasionally suggestions that the once A-League wasn't about winning. However Deacon, who above most things is remembered as one of the more competitive Tigers in his own time on the pitch, says the modern rugby player is always seeking a result.
"The modern player and the environment they are in, winning is what everybody wants. Yes, there is a development feel but it's winning that drives these players," he says.
Now a full-time coach after retiring as a player in 2013 following a decorated career at both Tigers and Gloucester, the former back-rower remains as driven as ever and is grateful for opportunities to be exposed to the head coach role, while ensuring continuity is kept across the club and its plans.
"The structure around how we play the game will be similar to how the whole squad is coached, but I will of course implement my own systems upon the group," Deacon says.
"That's what you strive for ... you want that exposure and experience."