Preview: Harlequins v Leicester

Date published: February 23 2017

Harlequins have made four changes to the side that played Bath for Friday's match against Leicester Tigers at The Stoop.

Nick Evans, who made his return from the replacements last week, starts at fly-half with Alofa Alofa named on the wing.

In the forwards Mark Lambert is selected at loosehead prop as George Merrick is named in the second-row. Merrick replaces Mark Reddish who suffered a concussion during last week’s match.

Stan South and Charlie Walker are among those who will provide cover from the replacements.

Speaking ahead of the match, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston, said: “We remain unbeaten at home in the Aviva Premiership, a record we are looking to continue against a very strong Leicester Tigers side.

“Our matches in recent years have been excellent encounters and I have no doubt it will be another mouth-watering clash as we look to close the gap on the five teams above us in the league.”

Meanwhile, Lachlan McCaffrey and Peter Betham return to the Leicester Tigers team for Friday's Premiership fixture.

McCaffrey has sat out the last four games but returns to the back row alongside Brendon O'Connor and Mike Fitzgerald for the trip to The Twickenham Stoop.

Betham is in line for his 50th Tigers appearance, just 16 months after his debut, and joins Maxime Mermoz at centre.

There are changes in the front row, with starts for Ellis Genge, George McGuigan and Greg Bateman, while Harry Wells is brought in for his first start in the Aviva Premiership this season in the second row.

Dom Barrow, who led Tigers for the first time in Anglo-Welsh Cup action away to Saracens earlier this month, is named as captain.

Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger said: "We're happy with the improved performances in the last couple of weeks but there are still things to grow. The guys had their feet firmly on the ground in our reviews on Monday, we know there are things we want to tidy up but also there are some good things coming from what we have been working on during the week.”

Form: Harlequins are one of only two sides with a 100 percent home winning record in Premiership Rugby this season, however the Londoners have lost their last two matches at Twickenham Stoop in other tournaments, to Edinburgh (Challenge Cup) and to Sale Sharks (Anglo-Welsh). The Tigers beat Harlequins at Welford Road in Round 8 and have not achieved a Premiership Rugby season double over them since 2010-11. Leicester have lost on their last five visits to Twickenham Stoop in all tournaments.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Matt Hopper, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Charlie Mulchrone, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Dave Ward (c), 6 James Chisholm, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Matt Shields, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Charlie Walker

Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Dom Barrow (c), 4 Harry Wells, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Mike Williams, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Matt Smith

Date: Friday, February 24
Venue: The Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Graham Hughes

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