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Wholesale changes keeping Betham on his toes

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With a new country, a new league and even a new position to get his head around, Peter Betham is enjoying life outside his comfort zone.

Leicester Tigers signed Australian international Betham from the Waratahs, where he won the 2014 Super Rugby title, over the summer.

The 26-year-old has predominantly featured in the back three – both his Test caps for the Wallabies came on the wing – in the past but the Tigers deployed him at outside centre on his Aviva Premiership Rugby debut last weekend.

Betham crossed the whitewash – the visitors’ only try – as Leicester kicked off their season with a 28-16 win at London Irish and he admits the transition has been interesting.

“I have got to have the ability to play as a 13,” said Betham. “I’m used to finishing off tries but in the role that I have here it’s more about creating opportunities for other guys. It’s about getting the ball into the hands of our wingers.

“It definitely gets the ball in my hands a bit earlier, which is good. The lungs are a bit busted but I’m enjoying playing outside Seremaia Bai.

“It was good to get the win and I was lucky enough to get over the paint but there are still a lot of things for us to work on.”

Away from the pitch, Betham is adjusting to life in the Midlands after swapping the Waratahs for Welford Road three months ago.

“The coffee is terrible, the food isn’t too bad and the weather isn’t exactly Sydney-esque,” he laughed. “But overall it’s pretty good.”

When he crosses the whitewash, however, Betham is full focussed on firing Leicester towards the Aviva Premiership Rugby summit.

After missing out on the Twickenham final in each of the last two seasons, the Tigers are determined to return to the form that saw them win five league titles between 2007 and 2013.

And with Kiwi coaches Aaron Mauger and Scott Hansen also joining ahead of this season, Betham believes they are well-placed to do exactly that.

“It has been pretty smooth,” he added. “Their approach is a bit more southern hemisphere so it has been pretty easy for me to adapt. It’s exactly my game and how I want to play.

“The boys are keen to get back to where they were in previous years, when they were winning European titles. I wouldn’t say there is pressure but we are challenging ourselves to be the best we can be.”

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem
 

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