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Preview: Leicester Tigers v Wasps

Preview: Leicester Tigers v Wasps

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill has warned his side they face an almighty challenge when in-form Wasps come to town this weekend in Round 2 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Wasps beat last year’s second-place finishers Exeter Chiefs at the Ricoh Arena last weekend, but have not started an Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with a pair of victories since 2011 – something boss Dai Young is targetting this time around.

In comparison, Leicester put together the greatest comeback in their long history to beat Gloucester last weekend, they were outplayed for 50 minutes before sealing victory in the West Country.

Leicester Tigers only defeat in the opening two rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby since 2012 came on a visit to Bath in round two of 2013/14.

The Tigers have won their last six home games at Welford Road in all tournaments since Sale Sharks won 10-3 in Aviva Premiership Rugby in February.

And Cockerill is determined to lay down a marker against much-fancied Wasps at Welford Road.

“What we do know is that we have got solid foundations in our squad and that is so important for what lies ahead,” said Cockerill.

“The first 50 minutes did not go the way we wanted at Kingsholm but as the game progressed the leaders on the field made good decisions and allowed us to get back into a position where we could win the game.

“Our set-piece was good, too. We had eight scrums and eight positive outcomes on the night, so we are getting there slowly. The line-out was good in attack and defence but we still have to make sure that we are better when we face Wasps.

“Wasps are a good side and finished above us last year. We have to make sure we are on it.

“Last weekend they had a big start to their season with a win against Exeter who finished second last season, so that underlines that we have to make sure we improve again. It is so important in this league that you get results at home.”

Wasps were defeated on their two most recent away games, both to Exeter at Sandy Park, but have not lost three in a row on their travels in the competition since November 2014.

Wasps 36-24 victory over Tigers at Coventry in March ended a four game winning run by their now near neighbours in this fixture, while Wasps have not been victorious at Welford Road since a 28-19 win in September 2008.

And Wasps boss Young has warned his side of the challenge they face from a hungry Leicester this weekend.

“I thought Leicester did really well to come back and win at Gloucester,” Young said. “Everyone knows about the Tigers’ spirit, and their never-say-die approach was shown last week – they’re never beaten until the final whistle and you’ve got to make sure you really nail it against them.

“Although the Tigers have expanded their game, when the game was going away from them they reverted to type with the driving lineout and scrum penalties.

“They have a very solid pack, and if you look where they have traditionally spent their money it’s been in the forward area.

“We know we will come up against a very good scrum, with both their loose had and tight head being in the top two or three in the world, and they showed at Gloucester that their driving lineout is a real weapon.

“They are also ferocious in the tackle area, and hugely committed and we’ve had difficulties there with them in the past when we’ve tried not to over-commit numbers to the breakdown.”

Welford Road, 3pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: Greg Garner (102nd Premiership game).

Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Wayne Falla.

TMO: Sean Davey.

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