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Rugby News

Tigers excited ahead of Sunday's return home

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Steve Borthwick previews the club’s Gallagher Premiership game against London Irish in Round 11 of this season’s league campaign.

Speaking in the build-up to the clash with The Exiles at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, the Leicester Tigers Head Coach says there has been a month of “intense training” while featuring just once in four weeks.

“It was a good period to dome some intense training; in that period our squad has changed quite a bit with additions to the group in Charlie [Atkinson], Gabriel [Oghre] and departures,” said Borthwick.

“There have been a lot of challenges with ten players away on international duty as well, so have had to work hard in building new, different relationships and adapting to the changes.

“We are always targeting how we can develop and have had to do more of that than maybe what was expected, with cancelled fixtures and so much squad movement.

“There was a lot of change over the summer, a third of the squad is new this season, and we have had a lot of young players make step up into senior rugby.”

Expanding on the new faces in his squad, in Atkinson and Oghre, Borthwick added: “Gabriel is a really exciting payer … he’s athletic, very mobile and adds a great dimension there for us.”

“He’s still a young player but has a lot of experience in the Premiership and is someone who adds enormously to the team.

“Charlie has settled in well and been impressive in the time he has had on the field, off the bench in our last Premiership game and starting for the first time in the Premiership Cup.

“Both young men are working very hard to learn about their new teammates and we are pleased to have them here at Leicester Tigers.”

In the first league fixture at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in 50 days, Tigers take on London Irish on Sunday afternoon.

Previewing the fixture, Borthwick said: “They are a very dangerous team. They have got a lot of very good individuals throughout their squad.”

“Their back three players have some incredible pace and Paddy Jackson at fly-half, van Rensberg at 12 and you can go through that pack and see the classy individuals they have at the club.”

Ahead of the long-awaited return to Mattioli Woods Welford Road, the Tigers boss admitted the group were “excited” to be back on home turf in front of the whole Tigers Family.

“It has been a very long time between home games in the Premiership and we are excited,” he said.

“We have missed playing in front of all of our fans at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

“It is a special group, the Leicester Tigers supporters, of which I’ve talked about a lot and - as a squad - know the privileged position we are in to have the level of support we do.

“We enjoy playing in front of our fans, enjoy playing at Mattioli Woods Welford Road and are pleased we have that opportunity again on Sunday.”

See the matchday squad named to take on London Irish HERE.