Sam Aspland-Robinson has reflected on his first Gallagher Premiership start in a topsy-turvy game against Wasps at Welford Road.
Aspland-Robinson made his first league start last weekend, after featuring off the bench at Saracens in February. The young wing played a key role in his side’s victory over their Midlands rivals, and was instrumental in shutting down Wasps fullback Willie Le Roux.
“He offers a massive threat,” Aspland-Robinson said. “It was quite difficult at times, so just trying to control that backfield even though a few of us were out of position was definitely a challenge, but we controlled it very well and controlled their threat.
“[The game] was an amazing experience, especially to start. Running onto the pitch – I think it was a packed crowd – was amazing, and one of the best rugby experiences I’ve had.
“I learned so much in that game, and it’s a good platform to kick off the rest of the year.”
“The boys are really hungry.”
Tigers now face another six-day turnaround before the trip to Salford this Friday, March 8 to take on Sale Sharks.
Veteran director of rugby Steve Diamond can call on players like Springbok scrum-half Faf de Klerk, the current World Rugby Player of the Year, as well as England international Denny Solomona and Australian spark James O'Connor, and Aspland-Robinson is wary of the northern side’s attacking style.
He continued: “I’m expecting quite a quick game. Faf de Klerk will try and run the show like he normally does, so we’ve just got to control him, put him under pressure, use his energy against him and really try and take out that threat.
And with a long list of players unavailable through injury and international call ups, head coach Geordan Murphy will look to players like the 22-year-old wing to front up in Round 16 of the Premiership.
“Again, I think we’ll have quite a young team out, but the boys are really hungry,” Aspland-Robinson added.
“I definitely want to get more game time. I was hindered at the start of the season with injuries, but now I’ve had my opportunity and I think I’m starting to take them.
“It’s not always going to be pretty, but we definitely have the depth and the strength within the squad to pull out good wins and play rugby.
“I really think we have the potential to go and rip teams apart.”