Leicester Tigers’ incoming head of physical performance Aled Walters has been described as “one of or if not the best in the business” by South Africa centre Jesse Kriel. The Welshman will arrive at Welford Road as part of a significant turnover of players and staff under new coach Steve Borthwick, with the arrival of new attack coach Rob Taylor being announced recently as well.

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Walters has spent the past two years with the Springboks as head of athletic performance, having teamed up with Rassie Erasmus following their time together with Munster. As part of the coaching team, they won the Rugby World Cup last year, as well as the Rugby Championship a few months before.

Much of the South African public recognise how fundamental Walters was to the team’s success in Japan. The manner in which they swamped England in the final with their oppressive defence is an indication of the condition the players were in, as they played a taxing style of rugby. Kriel, who was part of the Springboks squad, has been quick to praise the departing coach on Twitter, describing this as a “great signing” for the Tigers.

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Likewise, former Leicester centre Matt Toomua has commented on what a signing this is on social media, as the pair would have worked with each other at the Brumbies between 2011-12.

So far, over 20 players are set to leave the Midlands club at the end of the season, in what is looking to be a fresh start after a barren few years for the English giants.

The Tigers are only spared from sitting at the bottom of the Gallagher Premiership this season by the unique circumstances in which Saracens have already been relegated. Their guaranteed survival this season should not gloss over the severity of the situation they were in before all rugby was suspended as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the high praise Walters has received is another positive sign for Leicester that they are heading in the right direction under Borthwick.

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