Inside the Tigers’ Den - The beast is back but playing for Falcons

Alesana Tuilagi dives over to score Leicester's first try during the Aviva Premiership Semi Final match at Welford Road Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 14, 2011. See PA Story: RUGBYU Leicester. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. ENGNNL00220110515162121
Alesana Tuilagi dives over to score Leicester's first try during the Aviva Premiership Semi Final match at Welford Road Leicester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 14, 2011. See PA Story: RUGBYU Leicester. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. ENGNNL00220110515162121

There could be some collisions on a gigantic scale on the opening day of the 2014/15 Aviva Premiership as some of the most fearsome brothers to ever play the game of rugby go head-to-head at Welford Road.

Newcastle are first up for Leicester Tigers in the new league season and their latest big name recruit will be more than familiar with his surroundings.

Tigers’ former fan favourite Alesana Tuilagi could well face his brother, Manu, on the field for the first time in their professional lives.

Alesana, who scored 46 tries in 109 games in eight glorious years with Leicester Tigers, joined Newcastle Falcons in the off-season along with their other brother Anitela who comes from Newport Gwent Dragons. Imagine that - three Tuilagi’s clashing heads on one field at the same time.

Despite Leicester having a wealth of riches on the wing with the likes of last season’s player of the year Nicki Goneva, international try machine Blaine Scully, big performer Miles Benjamin and still yet to play Argentina international Gonzalo Camancho, many were a little upset to see Alesana join another Premiership side. For half a decade he was synonymous with Leicester, their culture of power and strength.

However despite Newcastle’s reinforcements Leicester will be pleased to get the season off and running against one of the easier sides in the competition.

Amongst the fixtures draw there are a host of interesting ties thrown up, none more so than the always eagerly awaited derby with Northampton. Leicester will first face the defending champions away at Franklin’s Gardens on December 20 but potentially the tie of the entire season could come on the very last day, when the Saints will come to Welford Road.

The game could be a dead rubber with both sides qualified for a play-off place by that point in the season. But with ever increasing competition for a top four finish, with the likes of Bath and Exeter likely to be threats to the established top four of Tigers, Saints, Saracens and Harlequins, if both teams have something to play for it could be like having a third semi-final. A game of epic importance and quality.

Leicester will hope they have already won silverware by that point in the season with the European cup final earlier this year, on May 2.

If Leicester are to be in the mix once again come the end of the season they will have to pick up a good number of wins during the international periods.

Although this period is dominated by the LV= Cup there are a number of Premiership games including a visit from Saracens.

Leicester director of rugby Cockerill has recruited well and by bringing in players of an international calibre with the likes of the three Italians and a French prop with Six Nations experience, he has strengthened the first team squad but come the autumn internationals they could be very bare on the ground - that’s if Leicester’s England contingent stamp their claim.

The only good news is Saracens will be stripped of their stars as well. Whatever happens the new season is speeding towards us.

Premiership Fixtures

September

Sat 6, Newcastle H

Sat 13, Exeter A

Sat 20, Bath A

Sat 27, London Irish H

October

Sat 4, Gloucester A

Sat 11, Harlequins H

November

Sat 15, Saracens H

Sat 22, London Welsh A

Sat 29, Wasps H

December

Sat 20, Northampton A

Sat 27, Sale A

January

Sat 3, Bath H

Sat 10, Harlequins A

February

Sat 14, Gloucester H

Sat 21, London Irish A

Sat 28, Sale H

March

Sat 7, Newcastle A

Sat 28, Exeter H

April

Sat 11, Saracens A

Sat 25, London Welsh H

May

Sat 9, Wasps A

Sat 16, Northampton H

Sat 23, AP Semi-final

Sat 30, AP Final