Leicester Tigers centre Kyle Eastmond insists his side are ready for the challenge that lays in wait in Round 1 of the Gallagher Premiership this weekend.
Geordan Murphy’s men make the trip across the Midlands to kick off their campaign at Worcester Warriors after a full summer of arduous preparations.
“If we’re not ready now, after 16 weeks of pre-season, then we never will be,” he said.
“We’re ready, we’re prepared, and we’re giving these guys the respect they deserve.”
Tigers travel to Sixways following an experimental block of Premiership Rugby Cup fixtures, which saw impressive wins over Exeter Chiefs and on the road at Bath as head coach Geordan Murphy tested new-look combinations across the field.
The side that will take to the 4G surface this weekend is much-changed from the young team that lined up against the same opposition last month.
And Eastmond, paired with summer signing EW Viljoen in the midfield for this opening league game, believes the pre-season growth – in all aspects of this Leicester team – will stand them in good stead come 3.00pm on Saturday.
He added: “We’ve got quite a few players away [at the Rugby World Cup], yes, but it just means that the players who are still here have grown.
“Everybody from our new players, young players existing players have grown. It’s been really good.
“There’s a lot to work on still, but we’re all willing to do it.”
The 30-year-old has already played a key role in the Tigers backline this season, and profited from a memorable Tom Hardwick offload to score in the bonus-point win over the Chiefs at Welford Road in September.
With Mike Ford now a permanent addition to Murphy’s coaching team, rugby league-convert Eastmond is hopeful of more sensational scores as the season goes on.
“We’re an intelligent team, with some intelligent coaches who want us to make the right decision at the right time,” he continued.
“It’s not about [just] playing one way, we’ve got to be good enough to make decisions to put the game in our favour.
“There were some good signs over the four Cup games, and we’ve got to take them forward.”