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Rugby News

Focus key for Irish clash, says Leatigaga

Leicester Tigers front-rower Nephi Leatigaga says he is embracing the quick-fire nature of the Gallagher Premiership.

The mammoth prop arrived in Leicester over the summer following a move from French club Biarritz, and has featured in all three of Tigers’ league matches so far this season.

And, after capping his first Premiership start with a win at Welford Road last time out, the Samoa international is keen to keep improving under Leicester scrum guru Boris Stankovich.

“I was thrilled getting the start last time out,” the 25-year-old told LeicesterTigers.com. “The front row is always important here, and so I knew I would have to make an impact.

“At the first scrum we won a penalty, so that was nice!”

“We have got to keep that focus.”

Nephi Leatigaga

Indeed, an early pushing contest set Tigers up for their first three-pointer of the afternoon against Gloucester – but Leatigaga wants to be more than ‘just’ a scrummaging machine.

“In France, it’s all about set-piece – they love their big boys,” he continued. “I’ve done a lot of hard work in pre-season to learn with other players so that I don’t let anyone down on my fitness, as well.

“I have had to lose a lot of weight since I have been here to get around the field a lot quicker and get off the ground.

“Now, it’s about building to keep improving on everything. There’s always learning, and that’s good for any player.

“Boris is a great coach and I’m already learning a lot from him. He’s helping me a lot with my game, both around the field and scrummaging on both sides.”

Tigers head to the Madejski Stadium this Sunday (November 10, 2.30pm) to take on a London Irish side boasting a wealth of international front-rowers, including Australia veteran Sekope Kepu and former Tigers prop Pat Cilliers.

For Leatigaga, building on the Round 3 triumph over Gloucester is essential.

“We have got to keep that focus,” he said. “We must go to London Irish and keep that mindset, and try to dominate.”