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Kay wants squad to keep stepping-up

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Leicester Tigers sit proudly on top of the Guinness Premiership - but know their strength in depth will again be tested over the next few weeks with a number of senior players on international duty at the RBS 6 Nations Championship.

Six Leicester players have been named in the England squad for the Calcutta Cup game against Scotland, for whom lock James Hamilton is looking to gain his first Six Nations experience. Geordan Murphy (Ireland) and Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy) are also with their national squads.

World Cup-winner Ben Kay captained Tigers to a 39-5 victory over Newcastle Falcons on Saturday and says there are a lot of players looking to make the most of their opportunities in coming weeks.

"I think a lot of the boys really stepped up," said Kay. "Everybody is waiting for their chance and they obviously want to do well when they get in.

"Newcastle probably would have looked at our team and thought they could take us on a bit in the scrum and forward exchanges, but the scrum was pretty powerful all the way through and we got our work in up front. Everybody is pretty happy with that. A lot of the guys playing last Saturday will have a lot to say with where we are at the end of the Six Nations.

"Potentially this squad can do a lot this year, but we have been in this position before and not delivered. It is a cliché but you have to take each game as it comes and we have got a strong squad where guys are coming in when they are needed and stepping up."

Kay, who certainly led from the front in the win over Newcastle, was satisfied with the afternoon's work against an enterprising Falcons backline which featured the return from injury of Jonny Wilkinson as a first-half replacement.

"Whether Jonny is involved or not, Newcastle have always got a fantastic backline and to keep them down to one score and to nil them in the second half is an excellent effort," Kay said. "We were very disappointed with giving one away and that shows the attitude at Leicester at the moment."