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Kalamafoni previews ‘big and physical’ Gloucester

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Sione Kalamafoni says he was busy picking the brains of Tigers team-mate Sam Harrison ahead of his first run off the bench of his Leicester career last weekend.

The 31-year-old made his club debut in September 2017, but all 49 of his appearances before last Sunday’s match had come in the starting side.

After a return from Tonga’s Rugby World Cup campaign, the back-rower was used from the bench for the first time since his move to Leicester.

“I was pretty nervous,” he said, when asked about waiting on the sidelines at Welford Road.

“I’d been talking to Sam Harrison about it in the week, and he explained how it’s normal to feel nervous when you’re coming off the bench.

“To be honest, I kept asking myself – when am I going to get on? Am I going to make a good impact when I come on?

“That was a new experience for me, but the nerves of getting onto the field are definitely something I’ll take away from that.”

Both Kalamafoni and Harrison are restored to the starting XV for this weekend’s clash with Gloucester, among nine changes to the side that last ran out at Welford Road.

The Tonga international pulls on his traditional No8 shirt against his former employers, with Harrison lining up for his 174th senior appearance at scrum-half.

“We know Gloucester are a good side – forwards and backs – and they’re not a side that we can take lightly,” Kalamafoni continued.

“They’re big and physical and they can attack really well. We’ve taken a good look at ourselves, and we’ve gone from there.

“As a back-rower, you expect to carry the ball a bit more to get the boys onto the front foot, so hopefully I’ll do that and help out the team in every aspect of the game.”

Supporters can experience all four sides of Welford Road with our exclusive Tigers Taster ticket, from this weekend’s Round 3 match with Gloucester Rugby (Saturday, November 2, 3.00pm).

Priced at £99 for adults – or £94 if you’d prefer to stand on the Terrace for one game – the bundle also covers admission to the European Challenge Cup games against Pau and Calvisano Rugby plus the Gallagher Premiership match with Exeter Chiefs.