The Gallagher Premiership is ‘one of the best tournaments in the world’, according to Leicester Tigers club captain Tom Youngs.
And, as his side prepare to jump once more into the week-to-week grind of league action with a trip to Worcester this weekend, the 32-year-old spoke of his excitement at putting into practice the learnings from a gruelling summer of preparation.
“The Premiership is tough wherever you go,” the hooker explained. “But it’s also one of the best tournaments in the world.
“We’ve had a lot of change over the summer, and we’ve grown a lot as a group over the last three months, which has been fantastic.
“The last four [Cup] games have been challenging. We swapped the team around a couple of times and I’ve played with combinations I’ve never played with before, and now the boys are excited for Round 1 of the Premiership.
“We’re all very excited about getting going at Worcester.”
There will be a sense of déjà-vu for Geordan Murphy’s men when they board the team bus for the trip to Worcester on Saturday, with a young Tigers side having already visited Sixways in the Premiership Rugby Cup four weeks ago.
But, with a much-changed side set to line up against the Warriors, Youngs said his team will relish the battle.
He continued: “We played Worcester in our first game and they were very good.
“We took a good young side who learned some good lessons, and it was fantastic for them.
“We now go down there having chopped and changed the side, and we look forward to the challenge that awaits us there.
“This side has been training extremely hard over the last 16 weeks to go there with every little bit of energy and excitement we have to put in a good performance.”
For Youngs, a stalwart of the Tigers senior set-up since graduating from the club’s academy system, the match will also serve as a chance for the players to show the mental toughness that – by his own admission – the side lacked at certain points of last season.
“We’re trying to put pride back into the shirt, and we are,” Youngs said. “I think you can see that in some of our performances [so far], and some of that old-school Tigers grit.
“What I’m bothered about is, come Saturday, if we are showing the things we talk about.
“Those things are coming to the forefront already, even in such a short space of time, and now it’s about keeping building on them.
“That’s what excites me heading into Round 1 of the Premiership.”