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Tigers On Tour | Stepping up to the big stage

You weekly wrap-up of Leicester Tigers squad members off-season activities, on and off the pitch, ahead of a return to training for the 2021/22 campaign...

It was a historic weekend for the club with a trio of Tigers making their Test debuts, including a pair of Academy graduates reaching the milestone at Twickenham Stadium in front of family and friends.

The international weekend began on Friday evening when South Africa played their first competitive fixture since lifting the 2019 World Cup trophy, as the welcomed Georgia to Pretoria.

The Lelos held their own in the opening quarter of the match, before the class of the Springboks shone through to run away as 40-9 victors. 

In historical moment for the East Midlands club, on the hour mark of the match, Jasper Wiese's inclusion from the Springboks bench made the back-rower the first-ever debutant for South Africa from Leicester Tigers.

Wiese took no time in settling in to Test rugby, in his own unique way, with a handful of strong carries and bruising defence helping to see the home side come away with the win as they approach the British & Irish Lions series.

Before taking on the Lions, the Springboks take on Georgia for a second successive weekend on Friday (July 9) at Ellis Park.

A pair of Tigers, as well as a trio of former Leicester players, were in action on Saturday afternoon when Romania hosted Argentina at the Arcul de Triumf Stadium in Bucharest.

In his debut appearance as captain, Julián Montoya and his Tigers team-mate Matías Moroni led the Los Pumas to a hard-fought 24-7 win over Stejarii.

As well as the Leicester duo, who will return next season for Tigers, former club players Tomás Lavanini, Facundo Gigena and Pablo Matera were part of the Argentina matchday squad for their first match of the 2021 summer.

Montoya, Moroni and their fellow Argentinians make the trip to Wales next weekend for a clash with the home nation in Cardiff on Saturday, July 10.

On Sunday afternoon, Freddie Steward and Joe Heyes, who have risen through the ranks at the club since their days in the Junior Academy, were among a dozen debutants for England Rugby in the 43-29 win over the USA.

The Tigers pair started the match and shone, with the Leicester full-back looking comfortable on the international stage and playing a key role in the England back-line with two try assists. 

Meanwhile, his club-mate was a force up front for the national side against the Americans as he left his mark on his opposition at the set-piece and in defence. Heyes finished the game among the top tacklers and had Twickenham fans cheering with his trademark defence around the ruck. 

Fellow Leicester forward Ellis Genge joined his Tigers team-mates out on the Twickenham pitch for the 14-point victory, which included a stint as captain of the side in the second-half in his own milestone moment in the England shirt. 

England take on Canada next weekend at Twickenham, with the Tigers trio and fellow club-mates Dan Kelly and Harry Wells in the mix for selection.

Elsewhere, Leicester Tigers duo Matt Scott and Cameron Henderson were handed a double-blow after the cancellation of the England 'A' and Scotland 'A' meeting at Mattioli Woods Welford Road a week earlier, with their trip to Romania called off following further COVID-19 positive results in the squad.

The Scots remain hopeful of the scheduled away game against Georgia going ahead.

Finally, all the way down in the land of the long white cloud, Tigers own flying-Fijians Kini Murimurivalu and Nemani Nadolo have commenced squad training with their international team-mates after a two-week quarantine period in New Zealand. 

Fiji are set to take on the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday (July 10) in the first of back-to-back Test matches.