The unique challenge of back-to-back European weekends is one to behold, according to Leicester Tigers hooker Jake Kerr.
Tigers took on Rugby Calvisano at Welford Road in Round 3 of the European Challenge Cup last weekend, and now make the 900-mile trip to face them at the Pata Stadium just seven days later.
After putting nine tries past the Italian team last time out, Kerr conceded that facing a side in back-to-back fixtures could cause a strategic headache – but it’s one that Geordan Murphy’s men are ready for.
“In some respects, we don’t know what to expect,” he said. “The fact that you ask yourself what to expect of the same team seven days later is exactly the challenge in itself.
“They might do the exact same thing, or they might not. That’s the beauty of the back-to-back.”
Having said that, the front-rower did pick out a couple of key points that the travelling Leicester team can anticipate ahead of their latest European test.
Kerr continued: “They’ve got a big, physical forward pack that means we’ll need to make our tackles in defence.
“We weren’t as dominant as we wanted to be in that area last weekend, so that’s been a focus for us going into this game; making sure that we’re in charge of things.”
The 23-year-old is handed a different role this weekend – involved from the off in a dynamic Tigers pack – after helping to raise the tempo from the bench last time out.
And that experience will be something to draw on from the first minute, according to the Scotland international.
“Maintaining the team’s motivation and keeping or upping the tempo is exactly the job of the boys on the bench,” he explained.
“I like to think we did a really good job of that at the weekend. We closed quite strong, but we want to go out and do that from the start, and execute this weekend.”
Kerr and his Tigers team-mates will have a large swathe of green, white and red fans cheering them on to do exactly that on Saturday – and the hooker said that the traveling support, even as far afield as Italy, can be felt by the whole squad.
“Their support is massive,” he added. “It’s nice to know that you’ve got everybody behind you.
“Even if it’s a team of younger boys or boys getting an opportunity, like in Cardiff, it’s always great to see familiar faces and people cheering you on in Tigers colours. It’s pretty cool, actually.”