Prop Balmain is becoming an ever increasing popular member of the Tigers squad to both the fans and the coaching staff. At over 6 foot in height and 18 stone in weight, the 21 year old is a man mountain both with the ball in hand and in the tight. After impressing with cameo appearances off of the bench last season, the young man from the North-East of England will hope to push on to make himself second choice behind England tight-head Dan Cole
Arriving from London Irish, Jamie Gibson seems to have been around forever to the eagle-eyed Aviva Premiership viewer. However, at just 22 Gibson has plenty of time to develop into a high quality international flanker having already gained experience with the England Saxons and receiving a call up to the full senior squad during the 2012 tour to South Africa. Gibson will come to the Tigers as a back rower who can play all over at 6, 7 or 8 but he looks to be the main long term successor for Julian Salvi.
Another new arrival and the only non-Englishman in this list, Owen Williams possesses plenty of promise and experienced by the Tigers head on. After his fantastic all round performance against the Tigers in last season’s LV Cup, Richard Cockerill moved quickly to secure the services of the young Llanelli Scarlet. Williams has represented Wales at age group levels and is tipped to push for national selection in a few years, he could in fact be moulded into the Tigers long term number 10, should
After joining the Tigers academy at the beginning of last season, winger Purdy has cemented his place in the England U20 squad for the second consecutive season. During the 2012/13 campaign, Purdy gained two appearances for the first team in LV Cup games and also impressed in the Aviva A league, scoring an incredible solo try against Northampton Saints after collecting the ball in his own 22, before leaving many defenders for dead, chipping ahead and collecting for a remarkable score.
Another member of the England U20 squad, Price will be looking to push on after also making appearances for the first team in the LV Cup last season. Unfortunately Price’s Tigers debut ended sourly after being rushed to hospital with a neck injury, however he was fine, he’ll be hoping to put that behind him this season. A tall, athletic lock, Price is in the perfect environment to develop around Lion Geoff Parling and fellow locks Louis Deacon, Ed Slater and Graham Kitchener.
Who do you think will have the biggest impact this season?