LV= Cup Preview: Friday

Date published: October 20 2011

Both Leicester and Gloucester have named very strong sides for their LV=Cup clash on Friday while Harlequins visit Sale.

Both Leicester and Gloucester have named very strong sides for their LV=Cup clash on Friday while Harlequins visit Sale.

Gloucester's defence of the LV= Cup got off to a good start last Saturday with the 58-27 win over Sale Sharks whereas a young looking Tigers side slipped to a 31-3 defeat away at the Scarlets.

However, Leicester will be a far different proposition this weekend back in front of their own supporters and able to call upon a number of their World Cup players.

Leicester Tigers v Gloucester
Sale Sharks v Harlequins

Friday, October 21


Leicester Tigers v Gloucester
At Welford Road, Leicester

Leicester Tigers will welcome back nine internationals for their first appearances of the season.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill has named England World Cup squad members Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Thomas Waldrom, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi in the line-up for the home game against the Anglo-Welsh cup holders.

Argentina duo Marcos Ayerza and Horacio Agulla are also back in a team led by skipper Geordan Murphy. Alesana Tuilagi, who returned from his World Cup campaign with Samoa in time to make his seasonal debut in the last home game against Harlequins, also has a starting place. England lock Louis Deacon is named among the replacements.

“The World Cup players have all been back in training this week and they are all very keen to get back out and play for us,” said Cockerill.
“We've had a tough start to the season and we have to start winning games, on one knows that better than us. The return of the internationals allows us to pick from a position of strength with more competition for places.
“It's great for the club and for the supporters to have them back and we now have to kick on.”

Only Martin Castrogiovanni and Ben Youngs of the World Cup contingent are sidelined.
“Castro has had a bit of a hamstring injury and we want to make sure that is right before we push him back in and Ben has returned from the World Cup unfit to play,” said Cockerill.

Niall Morris, Ed Slater and Steve Mafi are rested after playing in each of the opening seven games. Micky Young, Mathew Tait, Anthony Allen, Boris Stankovich, Julian White and Billy Twelvetrees are unavailable due to injury.

Meanwhile, Gloucester welcome back five World Cup players, all starting, while Olly Morgan returns from injury.

Jim Hamilton, Rory Lawson, Scott Lawson and Alasdair Strokosch all featured off the bench last weekend against Sale but start at Welford Road.

In addition, Akapusi Qera makes his first Gloucester appearance since representing Fiji in New Zealand and Morgan has recovered from the hand injury he picked up at Edgeley Park a fortnight ago.

There is also a recall for Tom Voyce on the left wing as Charlie Sharples is rested following a clash of heads with Freddie Burns last weekend.

Head Coach Bryan Redpath knows that Gloucester will have to up their game from last weekend's effort.

“We fell off a few tackles, allowed them to get their offload game going and gave them a real chance.”

“But we had a better balance to our game and were able to call upon a strong bench of international players and came away comfortable in the end.

“We expect their full metal jacket to come out on Friday night. It'll be a great challenge and a great physical battle. They're a dangerous animal when they have their backs against the wall.”

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Ryan Bower, 19 Louis Deacon, 20 Ben Woods, 21 James Grindal, 22 Scott Hamilton, 23 George Ford.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Lesley Vainikolo, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (c), 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Will James, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Peter Buxton, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Tim Taylor, 23 Jonny May

B>Kick-off: 19.45
Referee: James Jones

Sale Sharks v Harlequins
At Edgeley Park

Quins make the long trip north to Manchester to face Sale in their second LV= Cup group match, following last week's last minute victory over London Irish.

The team that fought so well against London Irish has selected itself with a few changes, which have allowed Conor O'Shea to integrate some returning World Cup players back into the fold.

Ross Chisholm returns from injury on the wing.

Joe Gray returns at hooker while the unbteane team welcome back Samoan World Cup flanker Maurie Fa'asavalu, for the first time this season, who will be looking to continue his impressive form from New Zealand.

Joe Trayfoot will start at number eight in place of Chris York, who faces up to four weeks on the side lines with an ankle injury sustained against London Irish.

The bench sees Nic Mayhew, another close season recruit, return from injury in the front row, where he will be looking to make his debut in place of Mark Lambert, who came off injured against Irish.

Tomas Vallejos is back from the Rugby World Cup, having made his Argentina debut in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Mark Cueto makes his Sale Sharks comeback on Friday.

Cueto now the longest serving player at the club said, ” Coming back to Sale after the World Cup has been fantastic, Steve Diamond has put a smile back on everyone's face, and totally transformed the place.”

Cueto added, “On Monday we finished training at 4pm and everyone was happy, last season if we finished at 3pm the lads would have been complaining and that says it all to me.”

Speaking about the game against Harlequins, Diamond said, “Last week we let ourselves down with our discipline and set piece. We were in the game until the last 20 minutes before conceding 31 points. We have had a good start at Edgeley Park though and are looking to continue our unbeaten run there in front of our own fans.”

Sale: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Will Addison, 13 Johnny Leota, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Mark Easter, 7 David Seymour, 6 Richie Vernon, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Tom Holmes, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 2 Tommy Taylor, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Marc Jones, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Fraser McKenzie, 20 Wame Lewaravu, 21 Dwayne Peel, 22 Jordan Davies, 23 Tom Brady

Harlequins: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Ben Urdapilleta, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ross Chisholm, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Richard Bolt, 8 Joe Trayfoot, 7 Will Skinner (c) 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 Charlie Matthews,