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It's good to be back at work - Cockerill

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Head coach Richard Cockerill welcomed back the bulk of the Leicester Tigers squad this week as pre-season started in earnest for the Guinness Premiership champions.

“Most of the guys are back now,” said Cockerill from the Tigers’ Oval Park training base.

“Some of them have been in for a few weeks already, but the Test players came back in on Monday.

“We have got pretty much everybody back and they are getting into it and doing really well.”

Pre-season is traditionally a time for players to suffer as the conditioning work is stepped up ahead of a long season, but there is also time for focus on skills, especially with law changes again ahead of the 2009/10 campaign.

Cockerill said: “Alex Martin does a very good job on the conditioning, so we will be well prepared and ready for the start of the season.

“We have a tough start with two away games. In that first month we have Sale away, Quins away, Newcastle at home then Bath away, that’s a pretty tough run to start the year so we have to be ready.”

Tigers step up the pre-season work again with a training camp in France which includes matches against Montpelier and Castres, then go to Nottingham on August 15 and Cardiff Blues on Friday, August 21 as the first visitors to their new Cardiff City Stadium.

The pre-season programme ends with a home match against Munster on Friday, August 28 (7.30pm). Tickets for that game are priced £10 adults, £5 juniors and £25 families. Sales details will be published shortly.