A fast start to the Aviva Premiership Rugby season would have been on every club’s agenda but Leicester Tigers’ desire to make an early statement is the reason why they remain unbeaten according to prop Fraser Balmain.
The Tigers recorded their third straight Aviva Premiership victory on Sunday, showing further signs of improvement as they downed a dangerous Wasps side 24-16 at Welford Road.
A strong Tigers pack and some resolute defensive work were matched with such creativity in attack that produced the high calibre tries scored by Vereniki Goneva and Telusa Veainu.
The addition of head coach Aaron Mauger is certainly beginning to show signs of promise and given the extended pre-season the team had together, Balmain believes they are reaping the rewards of their hard work.
“It was always going to be tough against Wasps but it was great to get a result and we were pleased with the performance as much as anything,” he said.
“I think it was always going to take time for the combinations and the new formations to get going but we are getting used to playing that way, especially with the international boys back with us now.
“We have been improving step by step and perhaps the long pre-season has actually helped with that. It has helped me put on some timber but also when you have to learn a new system it eases you into it.
“It can be a rush sometimes in pre-season to learn things but we have taken advantage of having more time and it is showing.
“I just think there are a lot of positives this year and going out onto the pitch there is a different atmosphere, it has improved, and we knew how important it was to get a good start.”
Balmain was a constant feature of Leicester's front-row last season, the 23-year-old repaying the faith in his director of rugby Richard Cockerill with ever-maturing displays during a difficult campaign.
This season he has started every game in the Aviva Premiership and in helping his side to three straight wins he was named the club's player of the month.
And despite his surprise at receiving such praise, Balmain believes both he and his side can maintain their early season form as they prepare to face a tough Exeter Chiefs outfit next up.
“I was pretty surprised to be named player of the month, it is one for the front row, but I am pleased with how I’ve started the season and want to keep getting game time and improving," he added.
“It has made a big difference in looking to get off to a good start and that is how it has gone but now we can’t let up and we will be looking to continue that against Exeter Chiefs.”
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