Premiership Lowdown: Leicester Tigers

Fact-File:

Last season: 4th

Home ground: Welford Road (25 miles)

Odds: 12/1

Turbulent Tigers:

After an up-and-down season Wasps’ Midlands rivals Leicester Tigers scraped into their twelfth consecutive play-off semi-final.

The ten-time Premiership champions went through three directors-of-rugby in the last campaign with Richard Cockerill sacked in January and Aaron Mauger leaving after New Zealander Matt O’Connor was appointed in March.

O’Connor led his side to a semi-final date with Wasps as he looked to turn Tigers’ fortunes around and will be looking to build on last season’s ground-work.

The arrival of England international fly-half George Ford, who had an impressive summer tour in Argentina, saw Freddie Burns exit Welford Road for Bath.

Despite this impressive arrival, Tigers have also lost several stars, including JP Piertersen, Peter Betham and Owen Williams which may make their challenge for a first title since 2013 more troublesome than some fans anticipate.

Tigers made an obvious improvement under O’Connor’s stewardship, with the move to a more physical style suiting the ability of powerful forwards Ellis Genge and Tom Youngs.

This physicality caused Wasps plenty of problems in the semi-final and perhaps showed a sign of things to come in the 2017/2018 season.

Ins and Outs:

In:

George Ford (Bath Rugby), Sione Kalamafoni (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Ford (Yorkshire Carnegie), Jonah Holmes (Yorkshire Carnegie), Dominic Ryan (Leinster), Gareth Owen (Scarlets), Nick Malouf (Australia Sevens)

Outs:

Fraser Balmain (Gloucester Rugby), Owen Williams (Gloucester Rugby), Freddie Burns (Bath Rugby), Jack Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Marcos Ayerza (retired), Oliver Bryant (Jersey Reds), Peter Betham (Clermont Auvergne), Riccardo Brugnara (Rugby Rovigo), JP Pietersen (Toulon), Lachlan McCaffrey (released)

Last season v Wasps:

Premiership Round 2: Tigers 22-34 Wasps

Premiership Round 13: Wasps 22-16 Saracens

Premiership Play-Offs Semi-Final: Wasps 21-20 Tigers

Dates for the diary:

Wasps v Tigers: December 2 2017; 16:30

Tigers v Wasps: March 23/24/25 2018; kick-off to be confirmed

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