Jordan Crane finds himself surrounded by a whole host of new faces in Leicester Tigers’ pack – and the No.8 insists there has been little need for a bedding-in period after a superb start to the season.
Tigers’ only blemish in Aviva Premiership Rugby so far is a defeat at Exeter Chiefs, who are not exactly pushovers at Sandy Park, and Richard Cockerill’s men have taken that good form into Europe.
French champions Stade Français had no answer as Leicester stormed to a try-bonus point 33-20 victory on a night that saw new openside flanker Brendon O’Connor announce himself to Welford Road.
O’Connor had only arrived in the East Midlands from New Zealand in late October but recorded an all-action performance amid a pack that also included summer signings Dom Barrow, Mike Williams, Michael Fitzgerald and Lachlan McCaffrey.
Crane, who has only just returned from injury, had to settle for a bench role but he believes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts where Leicester is concerned.
“If you look at any successful squad, it’s not just about the starting XV,” he said. “The way this season has gone so far, the boys are going to need rest to be as strong as we can be later on.
“The key is to keep winning when things are chopped and changed, and if we can get two great players in every position then we can do that.
“Brendon only turned up two weeks ago and he’s come straight in and done a great job. He had a really good game, he has special traits that make him an out and out 7 that any squad needs. It was good to get him out on the field and he showed everyone what he can do.
“We’re always out to get off to a good start, it was tough playing the French champions but with our record at home – in the Premiership and Europe – we went in pretty confident that we could win at Welford Road.
“Everyone has settled in very well and we’ve gone very well in games, apart from Exeter which is always a tough place to go – but I think there is also more to come from us.”
Next up for Leicester in the European Rugby Champions Cup are Benetton Treviso, who gave them a fright in the same tournament two seasons ago.
Crane added: “We came from behind and we scored in the last two minutes to get the bonus point – so we know how tough it will be.
“We have to get the basics right and then hopefully we will come away with a comfortable win, it’s going to be up to us mentally to do the job.”
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