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'It was pretty competitive, I'll tell you': Leicester revive old school tactic of full-on, in-house trial match

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Tom Youngs has revealed an old school trial game tactic was used at Leicester last week in an attempt to toughen up the Tigers under new boss Steve Borthwick, who arrived last July at a club that has had successive eleventh place finishes in the Gallagher Premiership in recent seasons. 

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The story from the past used to be that some training games between Leicester A and B selections were far harder, no-nonsense ordeals than some of the matches they would have played when they were in their trophy-winning pomp and a dominant force in England and Europe.  

They would regularly fight it out amongst each other in training games at Oval Park and a reprise of that galvanising tactic was deployed last week when Borthwick staged a full-on trial match to help fill the gap in the calendar caused by the cancellation of their two January European pool matches and their league game at Northampton.    

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Not since a January 3 win at home to Bath had Leicester been in action, hence the trial match in which Youngs admitted he was on the losing side but wouldn’t elaborate on what way the teams were picked. 

“It was last week, last Thursday. I’m a player, mate, not a coach. They determine who splits up on what team. I’m not the coach… three years ago, something like that,” he said about when there was last a similar type in-house trial match. “Unfortunately, I wasn’t (on the winning team), but it’s fine, it’s alright. It wasn’t a thrashing. 

“We train hard – that is what we do here. When I first came here (2006 debut) we trained hard. We may have gone away from that a bit but we have come back to it and trained hard… it was nice to have that game against each other and it was pretty competitive, I’ll tell you. It was a good run-out, a good blow-out to be ready for Friday. 

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“You have got a choice when you turn up for training, you can either turn up and get through or you can turn up and actually push to be better. I feel we are getting a squad of players now who are turning up to get better and want to get better as an individual which then results in the team being better as well.”

Sixth place Leicester, who are three wins from six so far in the league compared to one from six at this stage last term, next host Sale on Friday, by which time veteran skipper Youngs will have celebrated his 34th birthday at the club where his latest competition for the starting jersey is Argentina hooker Julian Montoya.

 

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'It was pretty competitive, I'll tell you': Leicester revive old school tactic of full-on, in-house trial match

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