Preview: Leicester Tigers v Bath

Date published: November 27 2015

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Ed Slater will make his 100th appearance for Leicester Tigers – and his first starting appearance of the season – in Sunday's Aviva Premiership Round 5 fixture against Bath at Welford Road.

Club captain Slater joins Mike Fitzgerald in the Tigers second-row, behind international trio Marcos Ayerza, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole.

Mike Williams and Lachlan McCaffrey return to the back-row alongside Brendon O'Connor. 

Tommy Bell continues at fly-half after reaching a career milestone with his 100th point for Tigers in the win over Treviso in Europe last weekend.

A reshuffled backline includes skipper Mathew Tait at full-back, Telusa Veainu on the wing and Peter Betham alongside Matt Smith at centre.

International trio Matias Aguero, Tom Croft and Seremaia Bai are among the replacements, and Graham Kitchener is included in the matchday squad for the first time this season after his recovery from injury.

Meanwhile, Matt Banahan will make his 200th appearance for Bath.

The Jerseyman, who joined the club in 2006 and has scored 76 tries since then, will reach this incredible milestone wearing the outside centre jersey, with Kyle Eastmond inside at 12. Argentine wing Horacio Agulla makes his first start of the season, with Semesa Rokoduguni opposite him at 14. Anthony Watson starts at full-back.

Scrum-half Niko Matawalu makes his third start of the season, with George Ford at fly-half. Continuing in the front-row are Nick Auterac, Ross Batty and Henry Thomas – the trio so crucial to the Champions Cup victory against Leinster last weekend at the Rec.

Captain Stuart Hooper is joined at second-row by Academy and former England U20 forward Tom Ellis, making the third senior start of his career. The back-row of blindside Matt Garvey, openside Francois Louw and number eight Leroy Houston will enjoy their second run-out of the season so far together.

Amongst the replacements is new Bath recruit David Denton, the Scotland back-rower, who could make his first appearance for the club since joining at the beginning of the month.

Form: Leicester Tigers solitary defeat in any major tournament this season was 6-19 at Exeter in round 4 of Aviva Premiership Rugby. The Tigers have won their last nine Aviva Premiership Rugby matches at Welford Road and are unbeaten in their last eleven there since going down to London Irish in September 2014.  Bath Rugby have a won 3, lost 2 record in all major tournaments this season, whilst their only defeat in their last five games of Aviva Premiership Rugby was to Wasps at Coventry in October.  Leicester have won only one of their last seven matches against Bath in all tournaments: 17-8 at Welford Road in this equivalent fixture in January.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza. 
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Seremaia Bai, 23 George Catchpole.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Tom Ellis, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 David Denton, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.

Date: Sunday 29 November
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff

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