Preview: Leicester Tigers v Harlequins

Date published: November 18 2016

England internationals Tom Youngs, Tom Croft and Ellis Genge return to Leicester’s line-up for Sunday’s Premiership clash with Harlequins.

Club captain Youngs starts at hooker, with Genge at loosehead prop and Croft makes his first league appearance of the season after returning from a back injury to play a full 80 minutes in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last week.

Ed Slater, Mike Fitzgerald and Lachlan McCaffrey are also back in the forward pack for the visit of Quins.

Adam Thompstone makes his 100th Tigers appearance in a backline which welcomes back Mathew Tait and Tom Brady, while Jono Kitto starts at scrum-half.

South Africa international prop Pat Cilliers is included in a Premiership squad for the first time and there are places for Jack Roberts and George Worth after starting the back-to-back Cup wins against Bath and the Dragons in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, Marland Yarde starts on the right wing for Harlequins having been released back from England for this weekend.

Aaron Morris makes his first Premiership start at full back in a team captained by Australian International, James Horwill.

Speaking ahead of the match John Kingston, Harlequins director of rugby, said: “We have won five of our last six matches in all competitions and so go into the weekend with good momentum.

“We know Welford Road is an incredibly tough arena to win at but we are hugely energised for the challenge that Leicester will undoubtedly present.”

Form: Leicester Tigers last four matches in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Tigers only home defeat in any competitions since February was 22-34 to Wasps. Harlequins have lost just once in their last six matches in any tournament: by a single point in 71 at Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup on October 22. Harlequins have won only once away from home in their last ten trips in the Premiership: 32-25 at London Irish on May 1st. The last five fixtures between the two clubs have all been won by the home side whilst ‘Quins have been victorious on three of their last six visits to Welford Road in the tournament.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jono Kitto, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 George Worth

Harlequins: 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 Alofa Alofa, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Dave Ward, 6 Luke Wallace, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Stan South, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Charlie Walker

Date: Sunday, November 20
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton and Nigel Carrick
TMO: David Grashoff