Tigers back Jordan Olowofela is relishing the chance to play first team rugby this season, and says that it’s only a matter of time before the side ‘click’.
The 20-year-old, who had previously made just one short Premiership appearance off the bench in last season’s clash against Bath at Twickenham, has featured in 11 league games this term – including a late call-up to the starting XV at Sale.
Olowofela was originally named on the bench for last week’s Round 16 Gallagher Premiership clash, but when George Worth pulled up in the warm up just minutes before kick-off, the development centre was drafted in to start on the left wing and was key in the thrust up the field for Facundo Gigena’s try.
“You could say that I’ve been thrown in at the deep end, but that’s exactly what young players need,” he said.
“That first one or two starts almost shock the system … it gives you that feeling of what the game’s about.”
“We’ll be doing everything we can to come out on top.”Jordan Olowofela
And despite being one of the most experienced backs to take to the field for Tigers on Friday night thanks to a combination of injuries and international calls, Olowofela enjoyed his new perspective.
He explained: “You’re having to do two jobs. You’ve obviously got to sort yourself out first and make sure you’re doing your role, but you’re also trying to take care of the inexperienced players because it is tough out there.
“For those people that haven’t been exposed to much game time you’ve got to try and help them out.
“That extra game time will stand us in good stead for next season. The more we play, the more experience we’re gaining.”
The night was ultimately a frustrating one for Tigers, with wet and windy conditions pinning them back in their own half for much of the first 40 minutes.
And Olowofela explained that the squad are keen to put the result to bed ahead of next Friday’s East Midlands derby.
“I think we performed well, but I don’t believe the score line reflects the way a lot of the boys played,” he added.
“Obviously there will be a lot of games that go that way, but you’ve just got to play the way you can.
“No matter the score, you have to play to the best of your ability.”
Tigers now have a weekend off before Northampton Saints visit Welford Road for Round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership next Friday (March 22, 8.00pm), and Geordan Murphy’s men will make the most of the break to repair bruised bodies and build on their systems.
“There are a lot of things to install, a lot of things to take from the Sale game and build on,” Olowofela said.
“As a backline, it’s all about getting [players] in the right position and staying connected out the back so we’re ready to attack from anywhere.
“The Saints game is going to be massive; it’s a derby game, so the crowd will certainly be up for it, both teams will certainly be up for it, and we’ll be doing everything we can to come out on top.”
Tickets are still available for the Battle of the Midlands match against Northampton Saints, with prices starting at just £30 for adults and £10 for juniors. Book online, in person or call the Tigers ticket office 0116 319 8888 (option 2) to secure your place.