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Tigers boast real depth in frontline resources

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There is not a lot we Leicester Tigers fans like more than a good old front-row hero. Through generations of support, the guys at the forefront of the forward pack have had their legions of fans in the stands.

It doesn’t matter who you sit or stand next to, they’re bound to have favourites in the front row. Only the names will change, from Redfern brothers or earlier to Darren Garforth, Graham Rowntree and Perry Freshwater, to Julian White and Martin Castrogiovanni, right up to Marcos, Coley and Logo Mulipola.
The Tig would now like to throw in a few new names because in the absence of Messrs Ayerza, Cole and Mulipola, the club’s remaining front-rowers have stood up and made their presence felt.
Pat Cilliers has grown into his role at tighthead, with a penalty try against Gloucester and a solo effort against Bristol, while Michele Rizzo has come back from a lengthy injury absence to not only play his first fixtures since the 2015 Rugby World Cup but also show up well enough to return to the international arena in the Six Nations.
There can be few more aggressive ball-carriers anywhere than Ellis Genge who also continues to add to the other tools of his trade as a loosehead prop.
Greg Bateman, the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of the front row, is now seen more at prop than at hooker, allying some neat footwork for a front-rower in his ball-carry with some big shots in defence.
Fraser Balmain has not had as much gametime as in previous seasons but receives a 10-out-of-10 for getting through an impressive 75-minute shift in only his second start of the season in the Cup win over Saints which has provided a useful catalyst for form, energy and results recently.
And that’s not forgetting Riccardo Brugnara and Ben Betts who came back from loans with Loughborough Students to play in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in testing games against Saints and Saracens.
Behind the scenes, Boris Stankovich has returned and seems to be as popular as ever in the Tigers camp. The scrum seems to have responded too.
Flair and form are obviously essential all over the pitch, but in rugby everything starts up front and Tigers have a good measure of both qualities in the current crop of props.