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Varsity 2017: Top Tigers stars share big-match tips ahead of DMU Varsity clash

Four top Leicester Tigers players have revealed the ways they get ready for their biggest matches to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students preparing for Varsity.

Scrambled egg on toast for breakfast and listening to Stormzy were some of the ways the Aviva Premiership stars got themselves in the zone for crunch matches, they told DMU rugby players at the Q&A event.

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With Varsity starting this week and the climactic rugby matches taking place at Welford Road next Wednesday, it was the perfect time for DMU teams to pick the brains of some of the country’s best players.

Winger Tom Brady, fly-half Ollie Bryant, centre George Catchpole and lock Ed Slater took their seats in front of the crowd in a Hugh Aston Building lecture theatre for the annual event.

Over the course of the evening they talked about how they got into the professional game, how they prepared for big matches and what it was like to run out onto Welford Road on Saturday afternoon.

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Tom, 26, who played his first Tigers game at home against Worcester, said: “I was there to enjoy it, it was great.

“You’re in the tunnel and you can hear all the crowd shouting above you in the stands and you come out on to the pitch – that’s pretty special, mate.”

To give the students an insight into the life of a pro, the Tigers stars ran through their pre-match rituals.

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While Ed and George were fairly focused, not eating much, thinking through the game ahead, Ollie said had one unshakable routine.

“Always have scrambled eggs on toast,” he said. “Every morning before a match.”

And Tom said he got pumped listening to music. “I’ll listen to chilled stuff in the morning and then just before the match get some house music on. Bit of Stormzy, I like that.”

They discussed dealing with feelings of anger or frustration during games, with Ed saying: “If you see someone frustrated you need to get them out of the mindset quickly. Talk to them, use their name, snap them out of it.”

They also talked about the Tigers season this year, which has so far been mixed, leaving the club fifth in the Premiership and having seen a change in manager.

Ed said: “This lack of consistency affects individuals. We have had two managers with different messages and it has been hard to keep people on the same page.”

But they had a lot of wisdom for overcoming these difficulties and advised DMU’s rugby teams to treat their Varsity fixture “like any other game” and to keep the history of the occasion from their minds.

Ed said: “Break the game down. Focus on the first 20 minutes, then the next and so on and try not to think about the scale of the match – it’s just a game of rugby.”

The four agreed to come and cheer DMU’s teams on at the clash with University of Leicester next Wednesday.

Posted on Wednesday 15th March 2017

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