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Match preview: Tigers v Wasps

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Welford Road opens the turnstiles on another season on Saturday when Leicester Tigers host Wasps in Round 2 of the Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign. Kick-off is at 3pm, with activities and entertainment at Tigers In The Park from 11am.

Tigers recorded a 300th Premiership victory in last week’s Round 1 trip to Gloucester, scoring five tries in a 38-31 victory after trailing 31-7 shortly after half-time. Overturning a 24-point deficit is a club record and the second-highest comeback in Premiership Rugby history behind the 27-point mark set by Harlequins against Wasps at Twickenham on the opening weekend of the 2012/13 season.
Wasps were, like Tigers, beaten semi-finalists last season but also got off to a winning start last weekend, beating Exeter Chiefs 25-20 at home with tries from Jimmy Gopperth, Dan Robson and summer signing Tommy Taylor.
Preparing for the return to Welford Road, Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “When we got it right at Gloucester last week we showed how good we can be. But when you are sloppy and don’t make the right decisions, you get into trouble in this league.
“To get back into the game was a huge credit to players, for their physical and mental resilience, and also credit to the leaders on the pitch who took those decisions to keep building the pressure. They got their rewards for that in the end.
“But we were disappointed with some of the errors we made in the first 45 minutes and we know we have to be better than that.
“Wasps finished above us in the table last season so we know how good they are. I have a lot of respect for Dai Young and what he is doing there and for the squad they have.
“We’ve got some more bodies back and it is important to have that strength in depth throughout your matchday squad. Everyone who came off the bench last week made an impact on the game.
“Across the board, I think there is still a lot of improvement to come from every team. Everybody will be better for getting that first game out of the way.”
Mike Fitzgerald, Mike Williams and Owen Williams all return to the Tigers squad after injury. Both teams were announced at noon on Friday.
Both sides won their home games in last season’s encounters, Tigers triumphing 24-16 at Welford Road in November with tries from Vereniki Goneva and Telusa Veainu on his debut. Click here for full details from that match.
Referee of the opening home game of the season is Greg Garner who also took charge of the final home fixture of last season, against Worcester Warriors in April.
More than 23,000 tickets have already been sold for Saturday, but match tickets are still available in the 25,849 capacity stadium.
Book at the Tigers ticket office at Welford Road or phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2). The office is open 9am-5pm Monday-Saturday. Or click here to book online any time. A print-at-home function is available on all online sales for home games, or pick up your tickets from the Collection Point on the plaza on the way to the game.

Click here for our full matchday guide to see what is in store for this Tigers matchday, including Tigers In The Park.