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Green: “This has always been my club”

Following in the best traditions of Leicester Tigers second rows, Calum Green is a quiet and considered speaker off the pitch.

When he talks, you listen.

Originally from Norfolk, Green came through the Tigers Academy to make his senior debut while still a teenager.

And after seven seasons away from Welford Road – doing most of his talking on the field along the way – the 29-year-old returns as one of Premiership Rugby’s leading locks.

“This has always been my club,” he says. “It was not that I didn’t enjoy playing for other clubs, but when you grow up with the academy here, it stays with you.

“They are the years you learn a lot about yourself and grow up, and you keep that.

“I’m a bit more mature now – or hope I am – now that I’ve been away.

“When the opportunity came to come back it was a no-brainer for me.”

A lot has changed since Green’s last spell in Leicester colours.

“This has always been my club.”

Former team-mates Geordan Murphy, Boris Stankovich and Brett Deacon have all joined the Tigers coaching staff, while the club’s Oval Park training base has been modernised.

Welford Road’s capacity has grown with the addition of a new purpose-built stand.

But, in the eyes of Green, the club’s core values remain the same; hard work.

“Pre-season has been tough, but standards are right up there like they were when I was here the first time,” he continues.

“I have got a lot of the same standards that were hammered into me from the academy side and when I moved into the first-team, and I’ve tried to keep that through my whole career.”

Indeed, the second-rower topped the league’s stats for lineouts won last term, and was one of the Gallagher Premiership’s top five tacklers alongside new club mate Sione Kalamafoni.

A lot of players would be quick to take the praise from such accolades – but Green refuses to rest on his laurels.

Indeed, in typically modest fashion, he explains how he’s been forced to up his game during Tigers’ pre-season preparations.

“There are a lot of younger boys here, and I feel quite old at 29,” he adds. “Their skillset is brilliant and they set the standard in a way.

“You have to up your game a bit, [but] it keeps you on your toes.”

“We have a good balance of coaches here.”

Following five years at Newcastle under the tutelage of former Tigers players-turned coaches Dean Richards and John Wells, Green is also excited to be expanding his skills under coaching team of familiar faces.

He explains: “Boris loves his scrums – he is scrum-mad – and he’s really passionate about that.

“I think it is really important that coaches are passionate about what they deliver, and the front row boys pick up so much from him.

“Mark Bakewell, too, I have learned a lot from him already. His attention to detail, every training session you get analysed and he will look at it and pick up detail and make sure you are a better player and doing your job.

“Brett Deacon is Leicester through and through and does a lot of the contact stuff, so I think we have a good balance of coaches here.”

And, not forgetting Green’s former captain, now head coach, Murphy…

“I got on well with [Geordan] when he was a player. He was captain and I looked up to him.

“He commands respect, [both] for what he has done and how he played.

“He has always been honest and up front, and I respect that.”