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LTTV

Post-match chat: Joe Heyes

Leicester prop Joe Heyes spoke to LTTV following the away loss to Sale Sharks in Round 16 of this season's Gallagher Premiership, which was the front-rower's debut start in the competition.

With Dan Cole away on international duty, Heyes was handed his first starting shirt in the competition in just his ninth Premiership appearance after debuting in the competition earlier this season as a replacement for Cole in what was the England and British Lion's 200th Premiership appearance - away to Wasps in Coventry.

"I just want to keep learning and want to be part of the club, because I'm loving it."

Heyes came in to the current season after a decorated age-grade career, including time with the England U18s and England U20s, but without a senior appearance to his name.

Now, six months later, Heyes is the second-choice tight-head prop at the club behind one of the world's best in Cole and boasting 17 senior appearances so far this season.

Throwing it back five years and the now 19-year-old Tiger was watching the club he now represents for the first time, ever, at the same venue he was at on camera discussing his Premiership starting debut.

"Last time I was here, I was dressed in a Tigers onesie at my first Tigers game on my U15s Newark Tour ... five years later, I'm starting for the club," said Heyes.

Admittedly, as Heyes himself acknowledges, it's quite a surreal jump in such a short space of time. But, despite what has been a challenging year for the club, the youngster is hungry for more and "loving" life as a Tigers player.

"It is pretty surreal how I can go from that to this ... so I'm happy, I just want to keep learning and want to be part of the club, because I'm loving it."

Heyes also discusses the feeling of being told he would make his first Premiership start, the chance to do it alongside club captain and international front-rower Tom Youngs, as well as the upcoming weekend off and highly anticipated showdown with Northampton Saints in the next chapter of the East Midlands Derby at Welford Road on Friday, March 22.

Watch the full interview with Joe Heyes below on LTTV.