Leicester Tigers welcome back six senior internationals for the return to Premiership action against Leeds Carnegie on Sunday.
Leicester Tigers welcome back six senior internationals for the return to Aviva Premiership action against Leeds Carnegie on Sunday.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill includes Scott Hamilton, Alesana Tuilagi, Craig Newby and the front-row combination of Marcos Ayerza, George Chuter and Julian White after they sat out the last two rounds of LV= Cup fixtures.
Manu Tuilagi and Billy Twelvetrees return to the squad following their England Saxons debuts and flanker Ben Woods makes his first Premiership start since the end of October after recovering from a wrist injury.
“We know it will be a tough battle – it always has been up at Leeds,” said Cockerill.
“It will be a tough, uncompromising game, Leeds are desperate for the points and we've got to make sure we battle for everything as much as they do.
“We've got a few players away but we've had a good week's preparation.
“These four Premiership games during the international period are massive for us. If we can take a good share of points in this period then we will be up there contesting semi-finals places in the run-in and that is what we are looking for.”
The Premiership leaders have five players on Six Nations duty, while Jordan Crane (knee), Ed Slater (foot) and Matt Smith (hamstring) are ruled out by injury this week. Geordan Murphy, Ben Pienaar, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft are also sidelined.
Meanwhile, Leeds Carnegie skipper Marco Wentzel returns to the starting line up this week to face his former club the Tigers.
Leeds return to action in the Aviva Premiership after a four-week break having secured five points from their last two games. With Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie on international duty this weekend, Phil Nilsen comes in at hooker whilst Rhys Oakley starts at openside flanker.
New signing Adrian Jarvis misses out on the chance of making his debut after Lachlan MacKay was included amongst the replacements.
Form: Leicester have won the last seven encounters between the two teams in the Premiership since Leeds' 23-22 victory at Headingley on 27 March 2005. Leeds Carnegie have won two of their six encounters in 2011 – against Gloucester in Aviva Premiership Rugby and Bucuresti in the European Challenge Cup. Leeds have won three of their last four games at Headingley Carnegie. Leicester Tigers have lost their last two games, both in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, but in Aviva Premiership Rugby Tigers have won their last six matches since their 12-19 defeat at Gloucester on 30 October.
Leeds Carnegie: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Fa'afili, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Michael Stephenson, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Rhys Oakley, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Tom Denton, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Phil Nilsen, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Scott Freer, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 James Craig, 20 Daniel Browne, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Lachlan MacKay.
Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Craig Newby (capt), 5 George Skivington, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Julian White, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Joe Duffey, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Peter Bucknall, 19 Calum Green, 20 Dan Hemingway, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Dan Hipkiss.
Date: Sunday, February 13
Venue: Headingley Carnegie
Referee: JP Doyle