Tom Varndell says Heyneke Meyer pushed Leicester to the limit during a gruelling pre-season schedule.
Varndell, the Premierships leading try-scorer last season, believes the Tigers are fitter than ever and are raring to go ahead of Sunday’s opening clash against Gloucester.
“Heyneke has worked us hard. He has worked us until breaking point,” Varndell told the Leicester Mercury.
“He kept saying ‘I can’t break you boys’. But there were points where I felt close to breaking. However, I have enjoyed myself. It has been mentally tough, as well as physically demanding, but I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has been one of the hardest pre-seasons I have done, and we have had some hard fitness coaches in the past.”
“But everyone is still smiling and looking forward to hitting the ground running at Gloucester. Physically, I feel ready to take on the marathon that is the Premiership.
“We won’t lose games because we are not fit enough. That is not going to be an excuse. Everyone is fitter than they have ever been. The team is looking good.”
Meyer replaces Marcelo Loffreda who was sacked after just seven months in charge and has made an immediate impact in his short time in England. Varndell believes the club made the right decision appointing the South African.
“Heyneke is brilliant,” said Varndell. “He is a breath of fresh air and has a really positive attitude. He loves his rugby and it’s fantastic to have him around. He encourages all the players and the players want to play for him. There is a really good atmosphere.
“He is completely different to Marcelo. I’m not saying that Marcelo was bad, I didn’t have a problem with him, but Heyneke is fantastic to have around. The whole atmosphere of the club is very different and everyone is a lot more positive.”