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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons

When Newcastle Falcons travel to Welford Road this weekend in Aviva Premiership Rugby it will be a reunion of sorts, with a number of players and coaches having played for both sides.

During Leicester Tigers’ dominant start to the new millennium, the likes of Dean Richards, whose final game for the Tigers was their only ever home loss to Newcastle back in 1997, and John Wells were running the show and they have since reunited at Kingston Park.

On the pitch there were few more fearsome sights than Alesana Tuilagi in a Leicester shirt, and he will go up against his former club this weekend.

Matt Smith played both with and against Tuilagi, and is very aware of the threat he will pose in the first Boxing Day clash at Welford Road since 1998.

“We’ve all been previewing the Newcastle game and we know they have a few very dangerous players,” he said.

“Everyone here remembers Alesana Tuilagi and the damage he can do if he gets time and space.

“It’s the same with the coaching staff with John Wells so it’s a really dangerous game for us. It’s good that it’s at home, but just after Christmas they will be coming here with nothing to lose.

“We know that if we aren’t on our game, we can come unstuck.”

Both sides come into the game in decent form, after Leicester twice turned over Munster, while the Falcons picked up a morale-boosting win at home to high-flying Connacht.

Marcus Watson was on hand to cross twice during that victory, and believes his team can use that win to get them on the board in Aviva Premiership Rugby, where they are still searching for a maiden victory.

“We have some momentum now and everyone is up for the challenge,” said Watson.

“It is good for the whole club that we have got this result and shown this form.

“Not just for the boys who played in the game, but for the guys who will be coming in for Leicester on Boxing Day. It is a squad mindset and we all work for each other.

“It will definitely be a tough one down there but the boys are looking forward to it.

“I think Leicester will hit a few high balls and look to put us under pressure there, but if we stick to our game plan and perform like we did in the second half on Sunday we are capable of really pushing them.”

(Welford Road, 3pm)
Tim Wigglesworth (99th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Darren Gamage & Kelvin Stewart. TMO: Rowan Kitt.

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