Preview: Leicester Tigers v Bath

Date published: September 23 2016

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Marcos Ayerza and Lachlan McCaffrey return to the Leicester Tigers forward pack for Sunday's Premiership meeting with Bath at Welford Road.

International prop Ayerza, who made his debut for the club against Bath in September 2006 and his 200th starting appearance in the last home game against Wasps in Round 2, joins Dan Cole and captain Tom Youngs in the front row.

McCaffrey lines up alongside Mike Williams and Brendon O'Connor in the back row after also missing the win at Newcastle Falcons last weekend.

In the backline, Telusa Veainu moves to full-back, with Adam Thompstone coming into the back three.

Mathew Tait is named among the replacements and is in line for his 100thappearance for the club since his debut in 2011.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Joseph returns to the Bath midfield on Sunday.

Joseph, who missed out on last weekend’s win over Worcester Warriors, takes his place at outside centre forming a combative partnership with Matt Banahan. The back three are unchanged with Anthony Watson and Semesa Rokoduguni out wide and Tom Homer at full-back. Captain George Ford and Kahn Fotuali’i continue their threatening partnership in the half-backs.

In the forwards, Tom Ellis and Matt Garvey both return from injury to start on the openside and blindside respectively, with Leroy Houston continuing at the base of the scrum.

Charlie Ewels switches to the engine room alongside Dave Attwood, whilst Nathan Catt also comes into the starting line-up alongside Ross Batty and Henry Thomas in the front row.

Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, said: ‘’It’s great to have a few guys coming back from injury to start, and the team have prepared really well this week.

"We know that Leicester are going to be a huge challenge, but we’re excited by that and looking forward to the game.”

Form: All three of Leicester Tigers games in Premiership Rugby so far have been won by the away side on the day. Tigers were defeated 34-22 by Wasps in their most recent match at Welford Road and have not slipped to back-to-back home defeats in Premiership Rugby since October 2011. Bath Rugby reside at the top of the Premiership Rugby table, a position they have not occupied since they beat Leicester at the Recreation Ground in round three of the 2014/15 campaign. Bath have won their last four matches since tripping up by a single point at Northampton in round 21 last season. The last five fixtures between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Bath’s solitary victory at Welford Road in Premiership Rugby was 13-12 in November 2003.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Owen Williams, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza 
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Greg Bateman, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Will Evans, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Mathew Tait 

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Anthony Watson, 10 George Ford (c), 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Tom Ellis, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Charlie Ewels, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Beno Obano, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Zach Mercer, 21 Will Homer, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Jeff Williams

Date: Sunday, September 25
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley 
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth & Gareth Copsey
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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