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Leon looking forward to European return

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Leon Lloyd returns to the Leicester Tigers starting line-up against Bourgoin on Saturday to notch up his 49th appearance in the Heineken Cup. The 29-year-old, who is enjoying his benefit season at Welford Road after making his first-team debut a decade ago, has had to wait for his chances this season, but says he is fit and raring to go.

"I have had to be patient," said Leon. "I knew I had played my 48th game in Europe last season and at the time I thought the final would be my 50th but it didn't work out that way.

"I watched the game against Bourgoin last week and I thought the guys did a superb job on them. But we also saw glimpses in the second half of what Bourgoin can do. Now we need to beat them again."

Lloyd was just a teenager when he played in his first Heineken Cup Final with Tigers back in 1997, but he will be forever associated with his try double in the Paris final of 2001 when Leicester got their hands on the trophy for the first time. Now he has been thrust back into the line-up at a time when head coach Pat Howard says he is looking for some finishing power in his team.

"There is a bit of pressure there because Tom Varndell and Geordan Murphy both scored from the wing positions against Bourgoin last weekend and there is obviously competition for places," Lloyd said. "But the pressure does not bother me. I just want to play my part and if I get a chance hopefully I can take it."

With 19 Heineken Cup tries to his credit, Lloyd is up among the all-time top scorers in the competition - and he'd be delighted to edge even closer to top spot with a score this weekend.