Leicester v Barbarians: Richard Cockerill relishes Baa-Baas game

Tigers wing Rory Underwood scampers away with the ball during the 1995 game against the Baa-Baas
Tigers wing Rory Underwood scampers away with the ball during the 1995 game against the Baa-Baas

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill says he is relishing the chance to lead Leicester against the Barbarians for the first time in eight years.

Tigers take on the invitational side, coached by All Blacks great John Kirwan, at Welford Road on Tuesday.

Cockerill told BBC Radio Leicester: "The Baa-Baas is a fantastic concept and something we should all support.

"That is why we will be putting our best side out and do it justice. It is a huge fixture."

The fixture first took place in on 29 December 1909 and quickly became one of the highlights of Leicester's season.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill
"When my name was on the teamsheet to play against the Baa-Baas after I had been at the club for four months, I thought I had made it. It was a dream come true."

But the game, which was traditionally played around Christmas, became increasingly difficult to sustain during the professional era and the game was last played in March 2006, with the Barbarians winning 52-42.

Cockerill added: "It was one of the reasons why I came to the club in 1992.

"When my name was on the teamsheet to play against the Baa-Baas after I had been at the club for four months, I thought I had made it. It was a dream come true.

Baa-Baas top Tigers
The sides have met on 86 previous occasions with Leicester winning 36 and Barbarians 45. All but two of those games were played at Welford Road.

"Playing in front of a full house on Boxing Day against Philippe Sella, David Campese, the Hastings brothers and all those players you had only ever watched as TV was enormous.

"I hope the supporters come and support the club and the Baa-Baas brand. They have a very strong squad, and it will be international players against international players at a famous stadium.

"We will go out and play - there is no pressure and we can enjoy ourselves."

BBC Radio Leicester will have live commentary on Tuesday's game online from 19:00 GMT.

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