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Preview: Leicester Tigers v London Welsh

Preview: Leicester Tigers v London Welsh

London Welsh wing Chris Elder says he is looking forward to a weekend when the tables are turned and the scrutiny weighs heavy on the shoulders of their opponents.

Welsh remain 12th in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with just a solitary bonus point to show for their efforts in 19 games so far this term.

But, as the end to the regular season draws near, their performance this weekend will be secondary to what their hosts Leicester Tigers can achieve.

The Tigers, ten-time champions, head into the weekend fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table in danger of missing the end of season semi-finals for the first time since 2004.

And Elder believes Richard Cockerill’s team will be expected to perform in front of a home crowd that has witnessed just one defeat in 13 games at Welford Road.

“They’ve still got a lot to play for so they are under more pressure than we are in a way,” said Elder. “So it’s very much a case now of us trying to prove things to ourselves rather than prove them to other people.

“So we’re looking to try and make a good start and put them under some pressure, which we know we can do, as we’ve done it against other teams.

“We just have to carry it through for 80 minutes, but obviously they will be coming out with all guns blazing as well and looking to get as many points as they can.

“Welford Road is a place that is renowned for being intimidating, and with so much on the line for them all the guys are really relishing going into that atmosphere and that will really add to the intensity of the game.

“That’s what every rugby player wants to play for – to play in those big games even if it is not necessarily for our side.”

Leicester are notoriously slow starters having scored the fewest first-half points this season. But they have not lost to the Exiles since 1987 and utility back Matt Smith believes Leicester can bounce back from defeat to Saracens last time out.

“We took a week to freshen up as we had a lot of sore guys after the Saracens game,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that have won two or three Premiership titles, so we know what it takes and we need to use that experience.

“Hopefully we can play some more attacking rugby in these last few games but we take victories any way they come.”

(Welford Road, 3pm)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth (95th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Nigel Carrick. TMO: David Grashoff.

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