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Slater confident after Aaron Mauger’s arrival

They may have gone two years without a trophy, but Leicester Tigers captain Ed Slater insists his side will never take their eyes off winning silverware.

The Tigers’ Aviva Premiership Rugby triumph in 2013 was their tenth league victory, but success has proved harder to come by in the last two seasons – with the Tigers comprehensively beaten 47-10 in the semi-finals last term by Bath Rugby.

But former Leicester centre Aaron Mauger has returned to Welford Road in the summer from the Crusaders, in a bid to bring the glory days back to Leicester as head coach.

And off the back of a longer preseason which he feels has allowed his side to nail Mauger’s playing style, Slater is convinced success lies just around the corner.

“I think in-house at Leicester the expectation is always to be up there and contending for trophies,” he said. “That doesn’t change at all, and it hasn’t over the last two seasons.

“But the performances weren’t quite up there last year, and even though we made the play-offs we struggled in the semi-final.

“So this year we’ve got Aaron Mauger coming in who will bring new ideas. He’s had a great playing history and a great couple of years with Canterbury.

“He brings some really exciting ideas to training which I think have helped us all as players. We’ve made some new signings as well so when you put it all together I think it has added to the expectation we already have.

“It’s a brand new way of playing the game with Aaron, a different game-plan. It’s something he’s brought with him from New Zealand and we all know how good the Kiwis are and how intelligent they are with rugby. Aaron’s no different to that.”

As well as appointing Mauger – who was capped 45 times by the All Blacks before a trophy-laden period at Leicester between 2007 and 2010 – the Tigers have also been busy in their recruitment over the summer.

Leicester have brought in some seasoned Aviva Premiership Rugby hands in Opeti Fonua and Dom Barrow, as well as four new faces from the southern hemisphere.

Brendon O’Connor, Michael Fitzgerald, Jono Kitto and Peter Betham have all come to Welford Road from Super Rugby, and it is Betham that Slater is most keen to see in a Tigers jersey.

He said: “We’ve made quite a few signings this year which have added to the numbers, and I think every player is going to be important this year.

“We’ll get some players back from the World Cup, and we’ve got two more players coming from the NPC too who will add to it.

“Peter Betham for me is the most exciting addition. He’s come over from Australia having been very successful and won the Super 15 with the Waratahs.

“He has played for Australia, and is a smart footballer who is very quick and agile. He’s the kind of player the fans will enjoy watching, and indeed the rest of the lads will enjoy playing with, because he can make things happen.”

The 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 16 October. To see all of the fixtures click here.

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