Guy Porter is aware of the pressure to perform in the Leicester Tigers team with an ever-growing list of players “chomping at the bit” to get their shot in the line-up.
Only days shy of nine months since he first put on Tigers kit and began training at Oval Park, Porter says the different perspectives on the game he’s been exposed to in Leicester have been a key factor in his development, including becoming a familiar face in the unfamiliar position of wing.
Porter says: “I feel like I have developed as a player and the way I think about the game, which has been great for me.
"It has certainly been different, with different perspectives on the game which I have been challenged on.”
The 24-year-old joined Tigers from the Brumbies in Super Rugby after a decorated club career in Australia’s Shute Shield competition, where he captained Sydney University to back-to-back titles.
A versatile player who has played across the backline for Leicester in 13 appearances since his debut last August, Porter admits he is still adjusting to the move out wide.
“I spent most of my time in the centres in Australia so I’m still adjusting to the wing a little bit,” admits Porter.
"In particular, the aerial contest has a huge influence on the game here and those core skills are non-negotiable for a winger, which has been a challenge and adjustment for me.
“But, it’s a specific skill you can work on and analyse, and it’s good to work with all those guys around me in the same boat.”
Porter made five appearances in his debut campaign for the club and has already made another eight this term.
With increasing depth and versatility in Steve Borthwick’s squad, the English-born Porter puts the improvement down to the competitiveness of each Tigers training session.
"It’s such a competitive squad and a challenge to work your way in, with guys desperate to play,” he says.
"There are plenty of guys chomping at the bit to get their crack and I’m fortunate to have had a run of games lately.
"It’s been great to be able to test myself on the weekend in those areas you’re working on during the week.
"Every session has been at a really high, really competitive standard and there are guys constantly challenging others for places in the team, which creates opportunities.”
The challenges have not been limited to training, with Covid stoppages and the stresses of a Gallagher Premiership season, but Porter believes things are on track as the squad continue to take steps forward.
"We’ve had challenges throughout the season with cancellation and sickness early on, players away on international duties and injury, suspensions as well,” says Porter.
“That’s the reality of a long season like this and, overall, I believe we are tracking quite well on this journey.
"The positive sign is that we aren’t having the same conversation every week. We’re building something and improving in different areas, together, as a group.
"It’s satisfying when you can see where we’re improving as a team and, individually, how we’re all contributing to the performances.”
Tigers welcomed back George Ford, Ellis Genge, George Martin and Ben Youngs from England duty on Monday, while Jasper Wiese is also available after suspension as the squad prepare to face Newcastle Falcons at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Sunday. The team will be announced at noon on Friday.