Wasps v Leicester stirs up local rivalry at Hinckley RFC
Friendly rivalry is in the air at a local rugby club, as Wasps and Leicester Tigers prepare to do Premiership battle this weekend.
The Midlands rivals meet at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday (3.00pm kick-off) and as a result National Two North Hinckley RFC’s squad have a serious case of divided loyalties.
Their club is situated half way between Wasps’ Ricoh Arena and the Tigers’ Welford Road home, and players have rugby connections with both ends of the M69.
Wasps currently have three academy players - fly half Connor Eastgate, lock Ehize Ehizode and former Tigers’ centre Jacob Umaga - on loan at the level four outfit.
The black-and-gold trio are coached by ex-Tigers and Coventry scrum-half Darren Grewcock, who is now Hinckley’s technical advisor and assistant to director of rugby Paul Walsh.
Wasps and Tigers head into the clash in the upper reaches of the Aviva Premiership table, and Eastgate, who made his senior Wasps debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup earlier this year, is hoping his parent club come out on top.
“As I understand it, if you live in Hinckley you’re either a Tigers fan or a Wasps fan,” the 19-year-old No.10 says, “and it’s the game that’s on everybody’s lips at the minute.
“A lot of the lads at Hinckley are going to the game, including Darren who likes to chip in with a few tongue-in-cheek comments about how there’s only one team in the Midlands, so a win for Wasps would do quite nicely. It’s always a good atmosphere at Wasps v Tigers matches, and it should be an entertaining game.”
Wasps Academy star Connor Eastgate and Hinckley's former Leicester and Coventry scrum half Darren Grewcock have divided loyalties ahead of the derby clash Grewcock, who was an abrasive scrum-half for Tigers in the 1990’s, believes growing competition between the clubs is great for rugby in the area.
“There’s always been a rivalry between the two teams in the league, but Wasps’ move to the West Midlands has taken it up a notch,” he says.
“It’s much more of a territorial rivalry now, and both sets of players and fans will want to win this one so they can hold on to the bragging rights until next season.
“Wasps got a great result at Welford Road at the start of the season and I’m sure the Leicester boys will want to put that right at the Ricoh, to reinstate themselves as the number one team in the Midlands.”
Tickets for Wasps vs Leicester Tigers are available online here
starting from £20 for adults, while under-10s go free.