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Leicester preview 2012/13

It is difficult to bet against Leicester being at Twickenham for a ninth successive season come May.

Tigers out to end final woes

Leicester have become synonymous with the Aviva Premiership play-offs having reached eight consecutive finals. However a return of three titles is a poor conversion rate for the proud club - with Harlequins pipping them at Twickenham back in May. It is difficult to bet against the highly-talented squad being at HQ again in 2013, though, but the pressure will be on boss Richard Cockerill to deliver. The Tigers have kept the changes to the squad to a minimum - but some clever acquisitions means Cockerill should have some selection headaches. Dan Bowden, Richard Thorpe and Adam Thompstone have arrived from London Irish, while the exciting England Saxons winger Miles Benjamin and Fijian Vereniki Goneva will add firepower out wide. Previously the Tigers have struggled during the international period - with Manu Tuilagi, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs, Tom Croft and Dan Cole among those called up by England. However Pat Phibbs, Brett Deacon and Matt Cornwell will provide valuable strength-in-depth, while there is the emerging talents of George Ford, Sam Harrison and Andy Forsyth. The departures of Julian White, for so long the cornerstone of the Tigers pack, Billy Twelvetrees, Alesana Tuilagi and Horacio Agulla have left big holes to be filled, though.

Leicester stats

Director of rugby: Richard Cockerill
Captain: Geordan Murphy
Sky Bet odds: 2/1
Last season: 2nd (beaten finalists)
In: Robert Andrew (Pau), Dan Bowden (London Irish), Matt Cornwell (Mogliano), Vereniki Goneva (Tarbes), Adam Thompstone (London Irish), Miles Benjamin (Worcester), Brett Deacon (Gloucester), Pat Phibbs (Exeter), Richard Thorpe (London Irish)
Out: Julian White (retired), Calum Green (Leeds), George Skivington (London Irish), Ben Pienaar (Moseley), James Grindal (Bristol), Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester), Horacio Agulla (Bath), Alesana Tuilagi (NTT Shining Arcs), Tom Bowen (Plymouth Albion)
Key man - Miles Benjamin: With Horacio Agulla and Alesana Tuilagi having moved on, the Tigers will turn to Benjamin to provide the try-scoring impetus out wide.
Prediction: 3rd

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