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Rugby News

Tigers shine on opening weekend of Rugby World Cup

It was a weekend of mixed results for the Tigers in Japan on international duty at the Rugby World Cup.

Eight of the nine members of the 2019/20 Leicester squad currently away at the tournament were in action during the opening round of fixtures, with Telusa Veainu the only player not selected for action as the Tonga fullback continues to recover from a foot injury suffered during the 2018/19 season.

Tomás Lavanini was the first Tigers player to appear at the 2019 World Cup when Argentina faced France in the first Pool C fixture on Saturday, with the Los Pumas falling short despite a second-half comeback against the French who recorded a two-point, 23-21 victory at Tokyo Stadium.

Pool C is also playing host to all other Leicester squad members at the World Cup and in the only other fixture of the group during the opening weekend, England took on Tonga in Sapporo on Sunday.

The Pacific Island nation, including Tigers back-rower Sione Kalamafoni at blind-side flanker, matched their more favoured opponents during the opening twenty minutes of the match before the class of one of the tournament's favourites began to show.

Inspired by a barnstorming display from Leicester's Manu Tuilagi, the English squad turned up the heat on their southern hemisphere opponents and two tries to the Tigers centre in just seven minutes saw him and his team-mates take a 15-point, 18-3 lead in to the half-time break.

A strong showing from Tigers duo Ben Youngs and George Ford in guiding the English side around the park helped them add even more to their lead in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, before adding a converted try with just minutes to play to secure a bonus-point victory and finish the opening weekend atop Pool C.

England face USA in their second outing of the 2019 tournament on Thursday, September 26 in Kobe City before Lavanini, Kalamafoni and potentially Veainu face-off in Higashiosaka City on Saturday, September 28.

Tigers supporters can watch incoming Tigers lock Lavanini face-off with his future Leicester team-mates on Saturday, October 5 at the second Kegs & Eggs event of the World Cup.

Welford Road will also host a viewing session of England's final pool fixture, against France, on Saturday, October 12 before the club takes on long-time rivals Northampton Saints in the final round of the 2019 Premiership Rugby Cup later in the day.

The events are free to attend and will include expert analysis pre-match, before insights during the half-time break and after the full-time whistle from Dusty Hare (England vs Argentina) and Mat Tait (England vs France).

Event information, including how to register your place, can be found online HERE.