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Harlequins v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership preview

Last updated: 16th February 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership preview

Toby Flood: One of three back for Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers have England trio Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Thomas Waldrom available for their top-of-the-table clash with Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership's big game on Saturday.

First-placed Leicester travel to the Stoop to face second-placed Quins with the two sides locked together on points at the top of the Premiership table.

Leicester's international trio have been released from the England squad for this weekend and are recalled by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

There is also a recall in the back-line for Scott Hamilton, and Brett Deacon is named in the back row alongside Waldrom and Julian Salvi, while Martin Castrogiovanni, Niall Morris and Steve Mafi are among the players unavailable due to injury this week.

Tom Croft is rested and four players remain with the England squad - Tom Youngs, Ben Youngs, Geoff Parling and Dan Cole.

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has tweaked his starting XV, making two changes to the back-line that lost to Wasps last week due to injury and international unavailability.

Matt Hopper moves to outside centre and partners Jordan Turner-Hall who comes into the run-on side for George Lowe. Danny Care returns from international duty with England to start at scrum-half.

Among the forwards, captain Nick Easter starts in the second row, with Charlie Matthews ready to impact from the bench. In the back row Maurie Fa'asavalu starts at blindside flanker and is joined by Tom Guest and Luke Wallace.

Among the replacements, with Karl Dickson unfit for this weekend, Jordan Burns will look to make his first appearance for the club at scrum-half, while the fit again Ben Botica returns to the bench.

Leicester took top spot in the Premiership table for the first time since the end of the 2010/11 season with their 28-12 victory at home to London Welsh, and although Quins lost they have not suffered back-to-back defeats since early 2010.

Leicester have won on their last eight visits to the Stoop since the Londoners last triumph there, 26-23, in the semi-final 1st leg of the Wildcard in May 2003.

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest. 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (c), 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

What they said

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill

"We've had some tough battles with Harlequins in the last couple of seasons. Results last week meant we went to the top of the table, but it means nothing at this stage.

"We still haven't played as well as we can and we're now into a key part of the season."

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 14th November
Aviva Premiership
19:45Gloucester vs Harlequins
19:45Northampton vs Exeter
Saturday 15th November
14:00Sale vs London Irish
17:00Bath vs Newcastle
Sunday 16th November
13:00Leicester vs Saracens
15:15Wasps vs London Welsh
Friday 21st November
19:45Harlequins vs Sale
20:00Newcastle vs Gloucester
Saturday 22nd November
15:00London Irish vs Bath
15:00Exeter vs Wasps
Sunday 23rd November
13:00Saracens vs Northampton
15:15London Welsh vs Leicester
Friday 28th November
19:45Bath vs Harlequins
Saturday 29th November
15:00Leicester vs Wasps
16:30Exeter vs Saracens
Sunday 30th November
13:00London Irish vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Northampton
15:15Newcastle vs Sale
Saturday 20th December
14:00Sale vs Exeter
15:00Gloucester vs Bath
15:00Northampton vs Leicester
15:00Saracens vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Newcastle
Sunday 21st December
14:00Wasps vs London Irish
Friday 26th December
15:00London Irish vs London Welsh

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Phil Edwards

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