Guy Thompson talks pre-season training and the bonuses of being away on camp with the squad, shares his thoughts on the new members of the group, tells us why this current crop of players can return Leicester Tigers to where it belongs and much, much more in an exclusive chat with LTTV.
Guy Thompson is confident the current crop of Leicester players can return the club to "where it belongs" and says the group are working hard to rebuild the "Tigers culture" they lost last season.
The back-rower was speaking to LTTV from the squad's pre-season training camp on an army base in Aldershot, south west of London, and said that fitness has been the major focus during the opening month of the summer schedule after the group addressed on "day one" that last year's levels weren't up to scratch.
"It was a disappointing year last year ... we're making sure we are putting the work in early doors, so we don't have the same start as last season," Thompson told LTTV.
Thompson and his team-mates are currently on an army base, roughly 30 miles outside of London, for a week-long training camp with a focus on defining the style of play for the club ahead of the upcoming season and working on the relationships within a senior group that includes 25 new faces - in the form of new recruits and players promoted from the Tigers academy.
"Just to have the opportunity to come away from Oval Park and be together ... trips like this a massively important to gel as a team," he said.
"This pre-season has been pretty tough from the word go, we know we weren't fit enough last year as a squad and it's something we've addressed from day one.
"There is a real buzz around the squad at the moment about us wanting to improve and be better this season."
In among those new faces are a dozen academy graduates, who the 32 year old has been impressed with since they made the step up to senior rugby over the summer after featuring in Tigers recent back-to-back U18 League titles.
Thompson also believes credit must go to the club's academy programme directors for their efforts in rebuilding the junior system in recent seasons.
"I think it's a huge achievement for Leicester to have so many boys come through the academy pathway," said Thompson.
"Looking at the boys who have come through ... it's a credit to Leicester at how well they've developed them in the academy.
"They're working extremely hard to ensure they are learning all the time."
As well as those making their way through the Tigers ranks, new inclusions from all over the rugby world have linked up with their new Leicester team-mates and Thompson believes that in addition to their rugby skills that the recruits are what the squad needs in terms of leaders and character.
"The recruitment is pretty damn good," responded Thompson when pressed for his thoughts on the new signings.
"Geordie makes sure he signs boys on what we need in the squad but also on if they going to fit in."
Looking ahead to new season, which will include extended periods without senior members of the squad away on World Cup and international duty, the 32 year old believes the balance this year is better suited to help rely on the depth within the group.
This pre-season has been pretty tough from the word go, we know we weren't fit enough last year as a squad and it's something we've addressed from day one
Thompson also agreed that stability in the coaching and management ranks, after recent seasons saw mass and regular changes at the top, has the side in a much more comfortable and confident position with the squad "behind" Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy and his staff.
"Stability is massive," he said.
"We believe massively in Geordie and the boys are all behind him.
"We know where we stand as a team, we're here and creating a game plan and with that stability we'll push on.
"We have to be better as whole squad this year ... everyone else has to step up and really use our depth."
Only one year in to his career in Leicester, Thompson quickly became a fan-favourite through his tireless on-field efforts throughout his debut season.
However, even as the man himself says, it feels as if he has been a Tiger a lot longer than just a single season and he's confident that this current squad can be the one to return the club to its place at the top of the Premiership and European rugby with its belief in one another and effort on the pitch.
"I've been here a year now ... it seems like I've been here forever, I absolutely love this place," said Thompson.
"Our aim this year is to be incredibly tight ... and build that Tigers culture which we feel we lost a bit last season.
"We're going to make sure that we're putting Tigers back to where we belong, back towards the top of the table fighting for titles."
Watch the full interview with Thompson above on LTTV and CLICK HERE to check out interviews with Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy and new recruit Jaco Taute from inside the squad's pre-season camp, including behind-the-scenes vision of the hard work being done.