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London Irish v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership match preview
London Irish face an uphill task if they are to move away from the Aviva Premiership drop zone against the Leicester Tigers at Madejski Stadium.
Irish are second from bottom in the table with two wins from 12 while the Tigers have won on three of their last four trips to Reading.
Geordan Murphy, Toby Flood, Graham Kitchener and Jordan Crane all return for Leicester.
Club captain Murphy will make his 200th Premiership appearance as he is included in the starting line-up for the first time since the win over Northampton Saints in early November.
He becomes the 19th player to reach that top-flight landmark, with club colleague George Chuter holding the all-time record with 258 appearances.
Fly-half Flood has recovered from a toe injury and makes his first club appearance since the end of October.
Kitchener comes into the second row for Tigers, and Crane takes the number eight shirt with Thomas Waldrom ruled out by a calf injury picked up in last Saturday's Heineken Cup win over Treviso in Italy.
Marland Yarde has recovered from injury and will start for Irish while Ian Humphreys starts at fly half and Jebb Sinclair joins Declan Danaher and Chris Hala'ufia in the back row.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Darren Allinson, 1 Max Lahiff, 2 David Paice, 3 Halani Aulika, 4 Bryn Evans, 5 Matt Garvey, 6 Declan Danaher (c), 7 Jebb Sinclair, 8 Chris Hala'ufia.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Guy Armitage, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates.
Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Geoff Parling, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.
What they said...
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith
"It will be great to be playing back at the Madejski in front of our home crow.
"Leicester has been the benchmark team in the Aviva Premiership for a long time now and they'll give us a thorough examination. In saying that we don't fear any team in this league and the boys are itching to play the Tigers."
Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs
"We have come out on top of some close games down there in recent years and we have to make sure that doesn't change. They have some good open-field runners and we will have to improve from last week against a team that is better than their position in the table."
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com