TOP BAR - Fixtures

George Catchpole backs Leicester Tigers experience in Anglo-Welsh Cup

George Catchpole insists Leicester Tigers will be using all their big game experience to tackle the Anglo-Welsh Cup when they kick off against fierce rivals Bath Rugby at The Rec on Friday.

Seven-time Anglo-Welsh Cup  winners Leicester have had mixed fortunes this season and sit fourth in Aviva Premiership Rugby, seven points adrift of Todd Blackadder’s third-placed Bath side.

With the autumn Tests looming, both sides are missing several internationals, but Catchpole said Leicester – who are unbeaten in the Aviva ‘A’ League and currently top the Northern Conference – have more than enough strength in depth to challenge for the crown.

Aviva Premiership Rugby regulars Fraser Balmain, Harry Thacker and Tom Brady have all turned out for the ‘A’ side this year and Catchpole believes they will be vital to Richard Cockerill’s side.

“Although there are a few guys away with the internationals, we have a very strong squad and we are confident that we can go down there and can get a result – it is a competition we are really looking to do well in,” the 22-year-old three-quarter said.

“Fraser, Harry and Tom are all tried and tested players, they have shown their worth at Aviva Premiership level a number of times, so it is hugely valuable to have them available. They will be really good for us.

“We are treating this as a normal week, there are bodies missing, but we are just going to go out there like we would any other week and give it our best shot.”

Bath have lost just the one competitive game since Blackadder took the reins at The Rec and edged an incredibly tight match against Exeter Chiefs 13-10 at Sandy Park on Sunday.

Though Blackadder’s Bath have made winning a habit in recent weeks, Catchpole believes Leicester are no strangers to that successful mentality.

He said: “They have been on the right side of some really tight games recently – at the weekend against Exeter for one.

“But we are also a side who are good in those situations, we have been in some extremely competitive situations and we are taking experience down to Bath.

“We have had some disappointing results in recent weeks and we are really counting this competition as a way of building momentum going back into the league and back into Europe.

“We are going to be taking it incredibly seriously.”

The Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend and for all the fixtures and details of the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on 19 March see www.new-heroes.com

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