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Rugby News

Borthwick previews Champions challenge

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Steve Borthwick says Sunday’s challenge of taking on the Gallagher Premiership Champions is one he and the Leicester Tigers squad are looking forward to.

Speaking at the club’s Oval Park base in the build-up to the final fixture of Round 10, Borthwick discussed the returning internationals, Premiership Rugby Cup block and shared his thoughts on Harlequins.

“Harlequins are a dangerous team, we know that,” he said.

“They have an excellent kicking game, trying to get territory to then launch their attack.

“As the stats show, their attack brings points - they lead the league for tries scored so far this season and we must be strong in defence.

“This will be a challenge for us, against the defending Champions; a challenge we are looking forward to.”

Looking closely at Sunday’s opponents, the Tigers Head Coach added: “They have athletic players in the back five of the scrum, experienced players throughout their squad who have played a lot of rugby together and understand each other well.

“They are a very good team, they are the current Premiership Champions and so we are not surprised the game is being talked about a lot and we must deliver a full, 80-minute effort.

When asked about the matchday squad named, which includes eight members of his senior squad who represented international sides throughout the autumn window, he said: “Our internationals are back after representing the club and themselves so well during the autumn series.

“It has been great to see the full squad together again this week at Oval Park.”

Leicester recorded back-to-back wins in the Premiership Cup opening fortnight, which Borthwick believes was a “good opportunity” for players to get valuable game time.

“It was a good opportunity for our squad and coaches to represent the club, get game time and continue to take our game forward this season as we continue to grow as a group,” said Borthwick.

“It was also an opportunity for players to do some extra training, sharpen some things up and also for some players who have played a lot of rugby to have a recharge.”

The fixture will be the club’s first sell-out since April 2018 and, after almost two seasons without supporters in the stands, Borthwick is excited to see fans back sharing matchdays with the players.

“It is always exciting, every game, you never take for granted the privilege to be involved in professional sport,” said the Tigers Head Coach.

“This one is against a team of such quality and it promises to be a great encounter and I’m sure out supporters are thinking that as well.

“We have our whole squad back together, after the autumn internationals, and we have a sell out crowd at Mattioli Woods Welford Road for a game against the Premiership Champions.

“After such a long period of not being able to share match days with our supporters, we have enjoyed seeing them coming back in big numbers so far this season and Sunday’s sell-out fixture is sure to be a special atmosphere.”

See the teams named for the Gallagher Premiership fixture HERE.