Austin Healey backing Leicester Tigers to lift Premiership title
Former Leicester Tigers star Austin Healey thinks his old club will lift the Aviva Premiership trophy in May next year.
The so-called 'Leicester Lip', who is now an analyst for ESPN TV, believes Richard Cockerill's side have too much strength in depth for the league's other 11 clubs.
Tigers have reached the Twickenham final for the previous eight showpiece occasions, but have lost to Saracens and Harlequins on their last two visits.
Healey thinks it is time for that unwanted dry run to come to an end.
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"Leicester will be strong and they have strength and depth throughout the squad," he said.
"If fly-half George Ford has put on a stone and not lost any speed, he will do very well for them.
"I could even see them exploring the option of Ford and Toby Flood at fly-half and inside-centre.
"Leicester are spoilt for choice at half-back and in the centres. They are also strong in the second row especially, and I think they will win it this season."
Healey enjoyed probably his finest hour in a glittering career at the club when his virtuoso performance in the 2001 Heineken Cup final earned Tigers a thrilling win against Stade Francais in Paris.
He knows what it takes to win trophies and believes Saracens, who were Tigers' opponents at Wembley last weekend, will once again provide a stern challenge throughout the season.
"I hope Saracens change the way that they play because they can really throw the ball around when they want to," said Healey.
"They showed they could do that when they put 50 points on Leicester at the start of last season."
Healey expects little change to the sides who finished in last season's top four.
He thinks Leicester, Saracens, Harlequins and Northampton will be battling it out in the Premiership semi-finals, although he believes Bath could enjoy a change in fortunes and challenge for the top four.
"They have been flaky in terms of game management in recent years and, if they can get back to the Bath of old, they could do well," he said.
ESPN will broadcast 43 live and exclusive Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, including Leicester Tigers v Harlequins on 22nd September. For more details, visit: