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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs

Leicester Tigers lock Graham Kitchener is not about to let lightning strike for a third time on Saturday in front of the ESPN cameras, having been stung by the Exeter Chiefs twice in the Aviva Premiership last season.

Kitchener will be hoping it is a birthday to remember at Welford Road when Exeter come to town, the lock turning 23 and determined to celebrate in style.

However the Chiefs will be full of confidence having tamed the Tigers twice last season, and with Leicester having not scored a try in 166 minutes of Aviva Premiership action – their longest barren spell since November 2010.

The Tigers’ 22-9 home defeat to Harlequins last weekend was only the sixth time in Aviva Premiership history that Leicester have failed to collect a point at Welford Road and Kitchener insists they need to get back to winning ways – and fast.

“Exeter beat us in both games last year, they had a good season, and they have started the new season pretty well,” said Kitchener.

“They look like they have added a bit more to their game since last year; they try to vary it a bit more so there are different threats.

“They have a big pack of forwards, they are very well drilled, and they are physical in the backline as well. You certainly need to make sure you front up against them.”

Exeter are looking to join a select group of teams that have achieved back-to-back wins at Welford Road – a group currently consisting of Northampton Saints, Harlequins, Saracens and London Wasps.

And heading to Leicester having downed Saracens 14-12 last time out, hooker Chris Whitehead admits spirits are high in the Chiefs’ camp.

“The mood in the camp was fantastic after beating Saracens but going straight into Leicester we knew there was no chance that we could rest on our laurels so we have been straight back to business,” said Whitehead.

“Maybe when we went into the game at London Welsh there was a bit of that but it just reminded us how tough the Premiership is.

“It will send out a massive message if we manage to come out with a result and do things well but we need to just worry about what we do as a team.

“It is a great run of games now which is exactly where we wanted to be as a club and so we need to make the most of them.”

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (53rd Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Watson, Paul Burton. TMO: Graham Hughes.

(Welford Road, 2.15pm) Live on ESPN HD

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