Leicester Tigers full-back George Worth says he is excited to test out the skills that he and his team-mates have been sweating over for the last 12 weeks.
Tigers head to Worcester for the first of four Premiership Rugby Cup fixtures this Saturday, September 21 (3.00pm), before returning to Sixways for the start of the Gallagher Premiership season later in October.
“The coaches have told us to go out and play rugby, and develop our own way of people seeing us,” the 22-year-old explained.
“Mike [Ford] has spoken a lot about our attack, and Phil [Blake] has spoken a lot about our defence. The coaches have given us the license to play and the frameworks to play about with.
“Our culture will develop as we go along, and it’s exciting to be part of that.”
With four games for the squad to get up-and-running before the league campaign kicks off, the next month will allow for Tigers to tinker with combinations and game plans in what has traditionally been treated as a development competition.
“I think we’re still building, and we’re not where we’re going to be in four or five weeks’ time when the first Premiership game comes around,” Worth continued.
“Every team thinks they’re in a great spot at the moment, and we’re giving a bit of exposure to some boys – getting some minutes into some boys – testing out some philosophies and a few different shapes.
“Throughout the four games different players will come in and out, so it is about building and peaking for four weeks’ time when we go back to Worcester.”
The only difference to a pre-season friendly will be the usual restrictions on substitutions, meaning at least seven members of Tigers’ starting XV will play the full 80 minutes, as in any competitive game.
The full-back added: “We’re going to be fitter than we’ve been in previous years.
“Those boys who do have to play 80 might be blowing 20 minutes in, looking at the clock and thinking ‘how is there still 60 to go?’, but we’ve been to some tough places physically in the last 12 weeks, so hopefully we’ll be ready for it.
“We’ve been working on making the right decisions all pre-season. We’re going out there and we’re going to try and play as much as we can.”
And, with different teams taking different approaches to the Cup competition, Worth asserted that Tigers can only focus on their own game.
“In previous years we’ve potentially worried too much about what’s coming our way and over-analysed opposition, and not worried about ourselves enough,” he said.
“That’s something that we’re going to do more of this year – worry about ourselves, and if we can execute what we’re going to do then it shouldn’t matter too much about who we’re playing against.
“We don’t know what sort of team [Worcester] are going to put out, so at the moment – especially this week – it’s about focusing on ourselves.”