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Tigers return for pre-season training

More than 40 players have returned to club's Oval Park training base with the pre-season schedule getting underway this week ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Included in the group that arrived back for week one of a near-three-month programme is club captain Tom Youngs and fellow internationals Sione Kalamafoni, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Kyle Eastmond and Telusa Veainu.

I've been impressed with the effort and commitment from each of the lads who have returned this week, they have all come back hungry to rip in to training

Geordan Murphy

Summer signings Jaco Taute and Joe Thomas have also arrived in Leicester to begin their Tigers careers, with fellow new additions Johnny McPhillips and Noel Reid due to begin training in week two after concluding their 2018/19 campaigns a week later than some of their new colleagues.

Former Tigers academy captains Calum Green and Charlie Clare have also returned to Leicester after re-joining the club ahead of the upcoming season.

The opening days of the pre-season programme have included a trip to the Matt Hampson Foundation's Get Busy Living Centre, where the squad ran reps on the steep incline of the entry road.

Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy and colleagues Mark Bakewell, Mike Ford, Phil Blake, Boris Stankovich and Brett Deacon have watched strength and conditioning staff put the players through their paces over the first days of their summer work and Murphy says he's been impressed with the early signs from all players.

"I've been impressed with the effort and commitment from each of the lads who have returned this week, they have all come back hungry to rip in to training," said Murphy.

"It's early days, there is a while left before our first game and the focus in the first few days has just been about getting the boys back into the routine of training and on building a solid base for us to work on as we move through the pre-season schedule."

As well as the seasoned members of the group, Murphy also welcomed some fresh faces into the senior fold after their graduation from the Tigers academy at the conclusion of the successful 2018/19 Under-18 League campaign.

The Leicester head coach, who first arrived at the club as a teenager, likes what he has seen so far from the cubs.

"There is a good mix of returning guys and some fresh faces, who have all just got on with the job straight away and the new lads have slipped in seamlessly in a short period of time," he said.

"We've also welcomed some youngsters into the senior group, having graduated from the academy programme, and I've been impressed by what I've seen so far from them."

Looking back on his days as both a young and senior member returning for the gruelling pre-season sessions, Murphy admitted he missed some parts of it only.

"I don't know that I miss the training itself, it was never easy while you were doing it. But I do miss that feeling of coming back in to Oval Park ahead of a new season and all the excitement that comes with that as a player," he said.