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Polota-Nau discusses squad effort ahead of Irish trip

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Preparation on the Oval Park training ground – especially by the squad members outside of the matchday 23 – is crucial, according to Leicester Tigers hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau.

The front-rower made his first league appearance of the season in the win over Gloucester at Welford Road last time out, after missing the first two rounds through suspension.

And, after seeing both sides of the team’s Gallagher Premiership preparations, the 34-year-old echoed head coach Geordan Murphy in asserting the importance of the wider squad’s role.

“You’re only as good as your preparation,” he said. “It was very frustrating not to be involved for a couple of weeks, but I had to make sure that the guys were all on the same page.

“You do all that work in the week, which is why the non-23 are so important in my eyes.

“They’ll help look into the opposition and pick up certain traits of their game so that the rest of the 23 can prepare accordingly.

“With the help of the coaches, we’ll then run through the plays that we’re likely to encounter, and they’ll put some real heat on us.”

Tatafu Polota-Nau Oval Park
The 90-cap Australia international has seen both sides of the team's preparation in recent weeks.

Tigers recorded their first win of the league season against Gloucester on Saturday following close-fought affairs with Worcester and Saracens in the opening two rounds.

The Australia international said victory had helped settle the camp back into their pre-season positivity as they look ahead to London Irish this Sunday (November 10, 2.30pm).

“It’s really pleasing [to get the win],” Polota-Nau continued. “You could sense the frustration from the first two results, but we got there eventually after playing more than 80 minutes, which is something we’re capable of.

“Coming on, I knew that we could certainly out-match them in that regard because we had a long pre-season, our preparation was awesome, and for every individual – especially the guys that started the game – to finish off as strongly as that has just reaffirmed our belief in the squad.

“We can use that blueprint to improve not just for the next game but for the rest of the season.”

Secure your place at Welford Road for seven all-important league games with a Tigers half-season ticket, starting from just £120 for adults and £45 for junior supporters.