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Lions return for Tigers build-up

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Leicester Tigers have welcomed their six British & Irish Lions players back to work this week as they begin the build-up to the new season.

Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Geoff Parling, Manu Tuilagi, and Ben and Tom Youngs all played a part in an historic series victory in Australia and then enjoyed a four-week break before reporting for duty with the Tigers squad.

Second-row Parling, who played in all three Tests after ending last season with an Aviva Premiership winners' medal, said: “I loved the whole tour. It was just great to be part of it. The team was well supported out there and we visited some great places. There was a great bunch of lads in the squad and to win that last Test just capped it off.”

Parling returned home immediately after the third Test to be with his family and the baby daughter who was born while he was in the southern hemisphere.

“She was two-and-a-half weeks old when I got home,” he said. “It was great to come home to the family, to a healthy baby girl, and to spend time off just relaxing.”

After four weeks at home, Parling and his Lions colleagues returned to work at Oval Park and quickly settled into their strength and conditioning part of their pre-season programme.

“We did our first fitness session today and, to be honest, I was really looking forward to it,” he said.

“It’s good to get back. We’ve done some fitness, we’ve watched a bit of training this morning and we’ll go into a bit of skills and rugby stuff towards the end of the week and build up from there.

“We haven’t trained on the pitch yet but the guys are very positive about everything and we’ll gradually build up in the next few weeks.”