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Deacon says he's relishing pre-season

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Long-serving lock Louis Deacon says he is looking to "hit the ground running" in the new season.

Deacon, approaching his 15th season as a Tigers first-teamer and with more than 260 games for his hometown club, says he is encouraged by his pre-season so far.

“Pre-season is never easy but I am enjoying it,” said Deacon who made 25 appearances last season. “I missed the summer last year and the year before that through injury so it is nice to get a good pre-season in so you can hit the ground running at the start of the season.

“For me it is about timing it right and not blowing up too early. As a kid you are flat out from day one. As the years have gone on, it is more about doing the right things and making sure you are ready for the start of the season. It is a bit more sensible.”

Deacon is backing the newcomers in the Tigers squad to make their mark in the new season after seeing them in opposition in recent seasons and watching their progress in training.

“We’ve made some good signings, they’re all internationals and big, physical players,” he said.

Leonardo Ghiraldini, Michele Rizzo, Robert Barbieri and Christian Loamanu have all made the switch from Treviso this summer and Deacon says all of the signings are capable of improving the squad.

“Treviso were seen as the minnows in the Heineken Cup, but every time we played there they were outstanding against us and made it very tough for us, and those were the guys that stood out.

“The new signings will push the guys here and provide not just a back-up but an alternative. We can probably rotate a bit more and guys will be fresher because of that.

“When you come in you have to earn the respect of the players. Once you’ve played a couple of games and get that respect, you are in, you are amongst it. You have to earn your stripes and work hard and if you do that you won’t go far wrong.”