Wing Adam Thompstone is optimistic that the new turf at Welford Road will help Leicester Tigers in their quest to play an exciting brand of rugby this season.
The best and worst of Tigers new style was on display in their opening Aviva Premiership Rugby game as they trailed 31-7 to Gloucester shortly after half-time.
But a try double from Sam Harrison as well as scores from JP Pietersen, Manu Tuilagi and Brendon O’Connor, Tigers fought back to claim a try bonus point victory, 38-31.
Tigers will have their first opportunity to play a fully competitive league game on their newly laid, fully natural turf pitch on Saturday – which is held together under the surface by a sub membrane.
As well as removing last season’s top turf, Leicester Tigers have improved the drainage at Welford Road and installed a sprinkler system to assist the groundstaff.
And Thompstone is excited to make his first home appearance, and first start of the season, on Saturday against near neighbours Wasps.
“The crowds down there are always amazing, a new pitch as well so we’re all very excited about it,” he said.
“It’s a lovely pitch, we played and trained on it a few times now, and with the type of rugby we are trying to play, and the talent we have forwards and backs, it will benefit us.
“We are focusing like we would on any other game, I don’t think where they are makes too much difference.
“It is a bit of a local rivalry and a bit of a derby now but we are approaching it like any other game.”
While a try on debut for new signing Pietersen and the imminent arrival of Matt Toomua will have plenty of Leicester Tigers fans excited, it was Harrison who caught the Thompstone’s eye against the Cherry & Whites.
The 26-year-old scrum-half, who has also been involved at fly-half in pre-season, is a former England age-group international and scored two tries and two conversions last weekend.
“Sam is an exceptionally talented guy, he can always be relied on, he’s had a great pre-season and he’s playing really well at the moment,” Thompstone added.