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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Harlequins

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Harlequins

Mike Brown is back from England duty to start for Harlequins this weekend and Leicester Tigers new boy Peter Betham believes stopping the full-back will be vital at Welford Road.

Leicester host Quins on Sunday as they look to build on an encouraging 28-16 triumph away to London Irish in their Aviva Premiership Rugby opener last weekend.

Betham, who joined from 2014 Super Rugby champions Waratahs over the summer, notched his new side’s only try in that game as he started at outside centre despite traditionally playing in the back three.

The Australian retains his place at 13 – meaning he is one of four summer signings who will make their home debut for Leicester – and the 26-year-old is keen to tick off the milestone.

“I’m definitely looking forward to running out at Welford Road. I don’t think I have experienced quite a crowd like Leicester and it will be really good to get out there,” he said.

“I know a couple of Harlequins’ players but I haven’t watched too much of them.

“Mike Brown at the back brings a fast-paced running game and we have really got to be on top of our game in terms of offloads and the opportunities they want to create.

“It’s all about playing our game. It’s all about sticking to our game plan and concentrating in defence. As soon as we revert to old habits, that will cause problems.”

Leicester bring a formidable home record into the game, having lost just one of their previous 18 Aviva Premiership Rugby matches at Welford Road – a 22-19 reverse to London Irish in September 2014.

The Tigers have also only been defeated once in their previous five league games, against Bath Rugby in last season’s semi-final, although they have only triumphed in two of their last nine matches against Harlequins in all competitions.

Quins also began their season with a win as they held off a talented Wasps outfit 26-21 at the Twickenham Stoop last Friday.

Brown coming in at full-back is the only change to the starting XV as Conor O’Shea’s troops look to start an Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012/13.

And back-rower Jack Clifford, who will start at blindside flanker on Sunday, claims the prospect of a trip to Leicester is always an easy one to get motivated for.

“The games with Leicester are always good games and ones you look forward to, especially at Welford Road where you always get a good crowd that are loud,” said the 22-year-old.

“It is one of those games that you really do look forward to playing in.

“There is nothing that we have to improve on in particular after Wasps, it is just an all-round thing.

“It was our first run out of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season so there were always going to be a few teething issues but it is another good game and we want to do what we do best out there.”

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

Welford Road, 2pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Tom Foley (8th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick & Paul Dix. TMO: Rowan Kitt.

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