Team: Leicester Tigers
Coach: Richard Cockerill
Home ground: Welford Road
Horacio Agulla (winger, Brive), Peter Bucknall (prop, Leeds), Rob Hawkins (hooker, Bath), Lee Robinson (winger, Bristol), George Skivington (lock, Wasps), Thomas Waldrom (number eight, Crusaders)
Mefin Davies (hooker, Ospreys), Brett Deacon (back-row, Gloucester), Harry Ellis (scrum-half, retired), Robbie Harris (prop, released), Ben Kay (lock, retired), Aaron Mauger (centre, retired), Lewis Moody (flanker, Bath), Johne Murphy (wing, Munster), Greig Tonks (full-back, Northampton), Sam Vesty (utility back, Bath)
Every season, Leicester manage to couple European rugby with a strong domestic showing and plenty of opportunities for trophies as the season draws to a close. Squad management, long-term succession planning and an eye for a marquee player are traits handed down through generations of coaches and this season looks set to follow the same path.
That said, the Tigers’ aura of invincibility seems to be dissipating slightly, and home defeats to Saracens and Northampton towards the end of last season will give hope to the rest of the teams. And they’ve lost Lewis Moody who certainly won’t be easy to replace.
One to watch:
Thomas Waldrom is an incredible signing given that he shone for the Crusaders last season and has been unlucky not to be in the All Black reckoning recently. His style of play will suit the Premiership perfectly and he’ll slot perfectly into a back row of Tom Croft and one of Ben Woods or Craig Newby.
I think Bath and Saracens will kick on from last season and may well finish above the Tigers in the league, but when it comes down to the play-offs, Leicester will be involved and it will take an immense effort to stop them. 3rd