Anthony Allen will captain Leicester Tigers for the first time in Friday's LV= Cup tie against Bath Rugby at Welford Road.
Anthony Allen will captain Leicester Tigers for the first time in Friday's LV= Cup tie against Bath at Welford Road.
The centre is among six internationals recalled by director of rugby Richard Cockerill for the final pool match in the Anglo-Welsh competition.
Argentina duo Horacio Agulla and Lucas Amorosino are named in the backline, while Jeremy Staunton returns at fly-half. Steve Mafi starts in the back row and Marcos Ayerza is named among the replacements.
Flanker Ben Woods is included for his first start since returning from injury and England international centre Dan Hipkiss retains a place in midfield after his first start of 2011 in the trip to Exeter Chiefs last weekend.
“We had a difficult first half at Exeter last week but a young team made a really good fist of it in the second half and they will learn from the experience,” said Cockerill.
“We have players away for the internationals, including three of our England Under-20s this weekend, but we've brought in a bit more experience and we pride ourselves on playing well at home. We're into a tough part of the season and we want every member of the squad ready for the challenge.”
Meanwhile, a strong Bath side will travel to Welford Road to tackle the Tigers in the final group match of this year's LV= Cup.
Luke Watson returns to lead, combining with Andy Beattie and Simon Taylor in the back row. Stuart Hooper and Danny Grewcock bring power and experience to the second row, whilst David Flatman, Pieter Dixon and Duncan Bell, released from the England Saxons for the game, team up at the front of the scrum.
Mark McMillan and Sam Vesty continue their half back partnership, with Tom Biggs and Matt Carraro providing pace and strength on the wings. Olly Barkley and Ben Williams once again combine in the midfield, with Nick Scott completing the starting line-up, making his first appearance at full-back for the Club.
Forwards coach, Martin Haag, knows what a tough proposition Leicester will be for the travelling side, but is confident that the winning momentum can continue.
“It's a slightly bizarre competition as you can win most of your games and still sit at the bottom of your pool, like ourselves. However, we are still in it, and we are looking for a good win against Leicester, and to keep the winning momentum we have managed to gain through the majority of this year. It wasn't necessarily a pretty win against Newcastle, but considering they brought a full strength team it was a good win for us,” he said.
“We haven't won at Leicester in quite a while so it's an important game for us, not only in terms of progressing from this competition, but also looking forward to the following week back in Premiership competition.
“Leicester at Welford Road is always a hard fixture, no matter what the competition, so we aren't expecting them to go easy. It is still Leicester v Bath and we are expecting to face a serious opposition.”
Leicester: 15 Horacio Agulla, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Dan Hipkiss, 12 Anthony Allen (capt), 11 Lucas Amorosino, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 James Grindal, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben Woods, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Ed Slater, 4 Calum Green, 3 Peter Bucknall, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Joe Duffey, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 19 Dan Hemingway, 20 Pieter Myburgh, 21 Luix Roussarie, 22 Lee Robinson, 23 Andy Forsyth.
Bath: 15 Nick Scott, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Ben Williams, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Sam Vesty, 9 Mark McMillan, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Luke Watson (capt), 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Stuart Hooper, 3 Duncan Bell, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Ted Stagg, 17 David Barnes, 18 Kane Palma Newport, 19 Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Ben Skirving, 21 Matt Keyte, 22 Paul Roberts, 23 Jacques Boussuge.
Date: Friday, February 4
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe (England), Alan Biggs (England)
Assessor: Steve Lander (England)
Timekeeper: Brian Abrahams (England)