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Rugby News

Tigers squad stronger this year – O'Connor

Matt O’Connor says Leicester Tigers are in a stronger position than last year as they head into the new Gallagher Premiership season.

Tigers have strengthened over the summer with the likes of David Denton, Will Spencer and Guy Thompson coming into the pack and England international Kyle Eastmond adding to the options in the backs.

And with the coaching staff and players a year more experienced, head coach O’Connor says Tigers have a stronger squad than last season.

“There are two elements to that,” he said “There’s the recruitment. Will Spencer coming in, he is a big man, he scrummages well, he calls the lineout, he is a physical presence.

“That will give us a bit more depth and a bit more physicality at the gain line, which will be important.

“Guy Thompson 7has been phenomenal for Wasps over the last couple of seasons, and David Denton, who played very well last year for Worcester, carried that form into his Test rugby with Scotland.

“He is a guy who can play anywhere in the back five and is going to give us a real aggressive edge.

“And then there’s the fact that guys like George Ford and Sione Kalamafoni are another 12 months into their journey at Tigers.

“I think they have a hell of a lot to develop and grow in their game and can give the team significantly more. They are both world-class players who will be massive for us this season.”

O’Connor was speaking at the Gallagher Premiership launch event at Twickenham Stadium on Thursday, where he was joined by scrum-half Ben Youngs.

England international Youngs added that he was impressed with Tigers’ summer recruitment, saying: “Denton is a big bloke, Spencer is another big lad and Thompson, has been outstanding for Wasps over the years.

“The addition of Kyle Eastmond as well. His understanding of how George Ford plays when they were at Bath, they played some fabulous rugby together.”

Youngs added: “Mark Bakewell joined us with only a couple of months left last year. With the full pre-season he has been able to implement his stuff with the pack and I think we will make huge growth in that this season.”

Tigers kick off their home campaign in the Gallagher Premiership against Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road on Saturday, September 8. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Match tickets are available now by clicking below.

Or guarantee your place at all home games in the Gallagher Premiership, Heineken Champions Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup with a Tigers season ticket. Click below to book.