Preview: Harlequins v Leicester

Date published: January 10 2015

Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea has made seven changes to his side that will face Leicester Tigers at a sold-out Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Mike Brown, Ugo Monye and Danny Care are named, while Ben Botica makes his first Premiership start since September after returning from injury last week from the replacements.

In the forwards Chris Robshaw and captain Joe Marler have returned from injury, with Kyle Sinckler named at tighthead prop.

Nick Easter starts at number eight and will make his 250th appearance for Harlequins, extending the club’s record for the most professional appearances.

Among the replacements, Tim Swiel and Tom Williams are named.

Meanwhile, Tom Croft and Logovi’i Mulipola return to the Leicester Tigers squad for Saturday’s Round 13 game.

England international Croft joins Julian Salvi and Jordan Crane in the Tigers back row and makes his 100th appearance in Premiership rugby.

The return of Croft is the only change to the Tigers starting line-up after last week’s win against Bath at Welford Road.

Samoa international prop Mulipola is included in the matchday squad for the first time since suffering an Achilles injury in the Round 3 defeat at Bath back in September. Jamie Gibson provides back-row cover among the replacements.

Form: Quins have won just twice in their last five league games – triumphs over Newcastle Falcons and London Welsh – meaning they are now six points off the play-off places. Their home form does provide reason for optimism however as they have lost just once in the last seven games at the Stoop – a 16-12 defeat to Sale on November 21. Leicester will come into the game full of confidence, having suffered just one Premiership defeat since October 4 – a 23-19 reverse to table-toppers Northampton Saints in December. Furthermore, Richard Cockerill’s men won the first fixture between these two sides 22-16 in round six and if they can complete the double over Quins, it will be the first time they have done so since the 2010-11 season.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 George Lowe, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler (c).
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Tom Williams.

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Seremaia Bai.

Date: Saturday, January 9
Venue: The Stoop
Kickoff: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Roy Maybank, Paul Dix
TMO: Geoff Warren