With three fixtures on Friday and two on Saturday, Tigers and Irish go toe to toe in the last action of Round 1, kicking off at 3.15pm in Sunday’s only top-flight fixture.
Tigers have won on opening day for the last three seasons, against Newcastle Falcons, Worcester Warriors and London Welsh, while Irish are looking for their first opening-day win since 2010. They have, though, lost just once at the Madejski Stadium since last November – against Leicester in February.
On that occasion, Jordan Crane captained Tigers to a 12-6 victory in his 200th appearance for the club. In heavy rain and strong winds, Freddie Burns kicked two penalties and a drop goal in the first half before replacement fly-half David Mele landed a final kick. Irish replied through two penalties for Shane Geraghty. Click here for the full match report.
Former England international Geraghty, though, was the hero for Irish earlier in the season, scoring 17 points, including the winning kick, in a 22-19 verdict at Welford Road as the Exiles became the only Premiership visitors to win on Tigers soil.
Irish are now working under Tom Coventry, previously with the Chiefs in New Zealand, and a man Tigers summer signing Mike Fitzgerald knows well from their time together in Super 15 rugby. Among their summer signings is lock Matt Symons, from the Chiefs, together with Sean Maitland (Glasgow), back rower David Sisi (on loan from Bath) and Dominic Waldouck (Northampton). Familiar faces for travelling supporters include former Tigers George Skivington, wing Alex Lewington, scrum-half Scott Steele, prop Jonny Harris and hooker Jimmy Stevens.
“Everyone wants a good start to the season, and they’ll certainly be up for it with a new coach and playing at home on the opening weekend,” said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
“Irish always have good attacking threats, they have good ball-carriers as well. We know we have to get our game right when it really counts, starting with this Sunday.”
Tigers will be in the club’s dark alternative kit for Sunday.
This match is not scheduled for live TV coverage. You can keep up with the action on the Tigers website and social media channels throughout the day.
The next home match is against Harlequins on Sunday, October 25 (2pm). Tickets are available now. Call in at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or click here to buy online.