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Murphy discusses missing experience in Tigers ranks

Nine Leicester Tigers players, representing five countries, are preparing for the final weekend of the autumn international fixtures, including a potential showdown between clubmates at Twickenham on Saturday when England welcome Australia.

Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May and George Ford (England), Matt Toomua and Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia), Jonah Holmes (Wales), Valentino Mapapalangi (Tonga) and Campese Ma'afu (Fiji) have been in camp for the past month with their respective nations and unavailable for Tigers selection before returning to the fold ahead of next week's trip to face Bristol in Round 9 of the Gallagher Premiership.

"I have every bit of confidence in our group to take on Saracens this Sunday."

Geordan Murphy

Between them, they boast 390 Test caps which, if added to the unavailable international quartet of David Denton, Ellis Genge, Mathew Tait and Telusa Veainu, adds up to 484 international appearances of experience currently unable to be called upon by Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy.

“I think this period, for as long as I’ve been at the club, has always been difficult for us," said Murphy.

"In an ideal world we would be heading into a game against last season's winners with almost 500 Test caps in our ranks. However we are where we are and I have every bit of confidence in our group to take on Saracens this Sunday."

With a number of capped players still available, boasting more than 160 Test appearances between them, as well as a host of young players who have gained valuable experience in the opening months of the season, the Tigers side to take on Saracens will have a mixture of experience and youth on Sunday at Welford Road.

"We still have plenty of experience in this squad, even with our international lads away, and they've been great during the past few months at leading our younger guys through a tough patch," Murphy added.

"We're also really impressed with the improvement of those young guys each week and each day, which has come through their exposure to senior rugby in the opening rounds of the current campaign.

"They can do all the training in the world, but nothing is as good for their progression as minutes on the pitch alongside and against the blokes who have been doing it for years." 

Scroll through the images above to see a pick of the best pictures of those Tigers currently away on international duty.