Inside the Tigers’ Den - Sevens season an appetiser to the main course

Leicester Tigers celebrate winning the 2012/13 Aviva Premiership but will  they be celebrating winning the J P Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series? Tiger Images
Leicester Tigers celebrate winning the 2012/13 Aviva Premiership but will they be celebrating winning the J P Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series? Tiger Images
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As the players batter each other in training in preparation for the start of the 15-a-side season, Friday offers an opportunity to get an early indication of form as the sevens season starts.

Leicester Tigers compete at Franklin’s Gardens, in group B on Friday night where they will face home side Northampton Saints, newly promoted Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks in the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby Sevens Series.

Tigers fans will be hoping their side improves on last year’s last place finish in the group.

While a strong performance in the shortened version of the game does not necessarily transfer to a good season in the Aviva Premiership, the inaugural competition in 2012 was won by London Irish who finished in ninth, it could allow some fringe players to make their case for a bigger role at the start of the season.

Last year Leicester used the competition to give young and second team players a chance to represent the club but with the wealth of talent at the club’s disposal Tigers should be looking for at least a place in the finals.

The Aviva Premiership champions added flair to their traditional power game last season, finishing the season as the league’s top try scorers.

With the likes of: David Mele, Toby Flood, Dan Bowden, Ryan Lamb, Mat Tait, Anthony Allan and Gonzalo Camacho in the Tigers squad, not to mention the Lions contingent who have been on an extended rest and are unlikely to feature, the club has the players to take a tilt at the title.

With sevens soon to become an Olympic sport it would be worth clubs and players giving the seven-a-side game more respect as a chance of competing at the Rio 2016 will be a real lure to many professional rugby players who have dreamed of being Olympians.

In other news

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill will learn whether his nine-game ban for verbally abusing officials in last season’s premiership final, will be reduced today (Monday).

The Aviva Premiership champions lodged an appeal with the Rugby Football Union against “elements of the sentence”, but not the guilty verdict.

As it stands Cockerill will be unable to play a part in match day preparations until November.