The chance to visit Welford Road has always been an Aviva Premiership Rugby season highlight for winger Tom Brady, but the opportunity to make his home debut at his favourite ground is something he simply cannot wait for.
The 25-year-old moved to Leicester Tigers over the summer after enjoying seven years at Sale Sharks – the side he returned to in defeat on debut last weekend.
But with Worcester Warriors coming to the East Midlands this weekend, Brady – whose Sharks tasted victory at Welford Road last season – admits the chance to play at home in the legendary Leicester jersey is something he is just desperate to experience.
“Whenever I’ve been selected against Leicester it’s always been one of the biggest games of my season. They’re an immense team in a brilliant stadium, now I finally get a chance to call it my own,” he said.
“To have those fans cheering me as opposed to being against me is going to be a pretty awesome day, hopefully I can do enough to earn that selection and can keep consistently performing to keep myself there.
“The atmosphere is always loud, intense and for a lot of teams it is the biggest game of the season. Players give an extra five or ten per cent because they know they’re playing against Leicester, and to play under that expectation of Welford Road is something which will be pretty cool.
“We’re early in the season, but any team prides themselves on home form and none more so than Leicester. We put pressure on ourselves to play our best whoever we come up against.”
Despite finishing in the Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top quartet for the past 12 seasons, the Tigers have yet to quite hit top velocity this season with three wins from their first five games.
Leicester are perched in fourth but the 34-30 reverse to Sale last weekend means they have conceded the most points out of any other side within the top nine places.
But Brady believes impressive performances – such as the 34-14 triumph over Bath Rugby a fortnight ago – will soon outweigh the negatives ahead of this weekend’s visit of the Warriors.
“There’s still lots of learning going on, even when things haven’t always gone right we’re still creating a lot of opportunities, doing a lot of good things but just slipping up at the wrong moments,” he added.
“We’re not a million miles away from playing some really good rugby, we’re still in that top four and we’re very optimistic we can get back on track.
“We owe it to the fans to win those home games. Fingers crossed I can get selected and a chance to run out at Welford Road in a Leicester Tigers shirt for the first time.
“Worcester have done well so far this season, they’re not a team you can under-estimate and they’re playing a more expansive game of rugby which is something we have to be wary of.
“They’ve played better than their position in the table suggests.”