Preview: Leicester v Gloucester

Date published: February 12 2015

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Centre George Catchpole will start in midfield for Leicester Tigers in Friday's clash with Gloucester at Welford Road.

Catchpole and fellow centre Jack Roberts are rewarded for their eye-catching performances in the pool stages of the LV= Cup in recent weeks. Catchpole is in line for a first Premiership start while Roberts is among the replacements.
 
Vereniki Goneva returns on the wing as Catchpole partners Seremaia Bai in midfield and Freddie Burns starts at fly-half against his former club.
 
Graham Kitchener returns from England duty to take his place in the Tigers pack, and Jordan Crane will lead the team as captain in his 199th appearance for the club.
 
Roberts and lock Jack Whetton are included in the squad for an Premiership matchday for the first time.

Meanwhile. for Gloucester, wing Henry Trinder features in a matchday squad for the first time since September.

It's a side which shows multiple changes from the side that defeated Harlequins in the LV= Cup last weekend – only Bill Meakes, Dan Robson and Dan Murphy retain their places.

Charlie Sharples returns after missing several weeks with a leg injury and lines up at full-back, while a host of other first team regulars are back after missing the last couple of weekends.

Meanwhile, Trinder returns having been sidelined since week two, at home to the Sale Sharks, and is named amongst the replacements.

Discussing the game with the local media this week, head coach Laurie Fisher admitted that, despite his team's good recent run of results, Gloucester are expecting a huge challenge at Welford Road.

"Momentum and confidence are massive in rugby, and to have won six from our last six, with two good performances in the LV=, is great for the confidence of the team.

"They're bouncing around and enjoying training. There are things to work on but we're taking momentum with us.

"We've also been able to rest a number of players over the past couple of weeks and we're hoping that they come back fresh as we push into what's going to be an exceptionally difficult four week block of fixtures.

"It starts with an exceptionally difficult game at Welford Road on Friday night. It's a game of footy, there's four points up for grabs. They've got a great record at home and a lot of pride, but we'll turn up and do our best.

"They'll be missing some players, but they're just such a tough side anywhere, but particularly at Welford Road. We're not expecting any favours, they'll deliver what they can deliver. It'll be an exceptionally tough night for us.”

Form: Gloucester are looking to do the double over Leicester Tigers for the first time in 11 years. Not since the 2003/04 season have the Cherry & Whites beaten Leicester home and away in Premiership Rugby, but the current crop have given themselves a big chance after an impressive 33-16 victory back in Round 5. A bonus-point win and they will just be one behind Leicester in the Premiership Rugby table. Leicester's record is usually enviable at Welford Road and it's been little different this year, having not lost in Premiership Rugby on home turf since September 27 against London Irish. Gloucester themselves have not won there since 2007.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 George Catchpole, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Jordan Crane (c), 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Sebastian de Chaves, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Laurence Pearce, 21 David Mele, 22 Jack Roberts, 23 Miles Benjamin.

Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 David Halaifonua, 13 Mark Atkinson, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 James Hook, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 James Hudson, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Henry Trinder.

Date: Friday, February 13
Venue: Welford Road
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Paul Burton
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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