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First Welford Road appearance 'special' for new Tiger

It was worth the wait.

That's the sentiment of Sam Aspland-Robinson, who made his first appearances in Tigers colours at Welford Road in the European fixture against Ulster off the bench on Saturday afternoon.

The outside back, who made the move to Leicester in the summer of 2018 after a decorated age-grade career with both Harlequins and England representative sides, had a delayed start to his time in the East Midlands after an injury filled start to the season but worked his way back in to contention with a string of impressive showings in the Premiership Rugby Shield.

"It's a great feeling to get my first proper crack for Tigers."

With Adam Thompstone facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines after an old knee injury flared up over the Christmas period, Aspland-Robinson was handed a chance to make his club debut in the away trip to Llanelli in Round 5 of this season's Heineken Champions Cup and impressed enough to earn a second appearance - and first at home - in the final pool stages fixture against Ulster.

The 22 year old admits it was a 'nerve wracking' build up to his debut at the historic home of the Tigers Family but 'special' feeling once out there in front of more than 20,000 screaming fans.

"It was a great atmosphere, although very nerve racking at the start," he said.

"But, once you hear the crowd get behind you it's a very special feeling."

Aspland-Robinson made his first appearance in club colours during the Premiership Sevens in the pre-season schedule but injury followed soon after and has had to work his way back to a senior debut in a longer time frame than he'd have hoped when he arrived.

"It means a lot to have played now, home and away," he said.

"It's taken quite a while after injuries in the first part of the season but it's a great feeling to get my first proper crack for Tigers."

When the time finally came on Saturday afternoon for a tap on the shoulder, sitting on the sidelines watching on, Aspland-Robinson admits his heart rate certainly reached max speed.

"My heart was racing and I was pretty nervous but, once out there on the pitch, I forgot all about it and it's just another game of rugby," said Aspland-Robinson.

"It's an amazing night to do it, but ultimately a shame to lose ... it's not about me, it's about the team and our performance."

Now the box is ticked, what's next for the former England U20s wing?

"I just want to keep working hard, trying to get myself a spot in the team and take a chance whenever it comes."

The opportunity may present itself once again this weekend, when Tigers travel to Northampton in the final fixture of the Premiership Rugby Cup for Leicester this season before a two week break from match action and, with Jonny May and Jonah Holmes both away on Six Nations duty, the remaining months look likely to feature the double-barrel name on the team sheet.