Preview: Leicester v London Irish

Date published: September 26 2014

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Leicester wing Miles Benjamin will make his first appearance of the season in Saturday’s Premiership fixture against London Irish at Welford Road.

Benjamin scored five tries in 10 appearances for Tigers last season but missed the run-in to the end of 2013/14 with a knee injury

Blaine Scully also returns to the backline as Vereniki Goneva moves to centre in the absence of Anthony Allen, Manu Tuilagi and Seremaia Bai

There is a place in the front row for Tom Bristow as Logovi’i Mulipola is ruled out, Sebastian de Chaves comes into the second row and Jamie Gibson starts at flanker

Summer signing Laurence Pearce, who made his comeback from injury in the ‘A’ League this week, is selected in the matchday squad for the first time

Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling, Niall Morris and prop Mulipola were added to the Leicester injury list after last Saturday’s match at Bath

Meanwhile, Scotland international Kieran Low will make his first start of the season for London Irish

Low will start in the Irish back row at blindside flanker alongside Blair Cowan and Luke Narraway, replacing Ofisa Treviranus who misses the game through injury

Tom Court, David Paice and Halani Aulika again make up the front row with Jebb Sinclair playing alongside George Skivington in the second row

Chris Noakes and Scott Steele form the half back pairing with Shane Geraghty and Fergus Mulchrone in the centre Andrew Fenby, Alex Lewington and James Short form the back three

“Leicester are a champion team and they will be hurting after last weekend, but so are we The squad has prepared well this week, it will be a great challenge and we are looking forward to it,” said London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith

Form: Leicester Tigers were handed their biggest Premiership Rugby defeat at Bath on Saturday but have not lost successive matches in the tournament since last November. The Tigers are unbeaten in their last seven Aviva Premiership Rugby matches at Welford Road since Harlequins triumphed there on 2nd November 2013. London Irish almost defeated Saracens on Saturday had it not been for an 80th minute try by Billy Vunipola. The Exiles only victory in the first three rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby was 20-18 at Newcastle in round 2. The Irish are aiming for successive away victories in the tournament for the first time since February. Leicester are unbeaten in their last ten fixtures against London Irish in all competitions, since the Exiles won 18-12 at Madejski Stadium in Premiership Rugby on 24th October 2009. London Irish’s only previous victory at Welford Road since their first visit in 1923 was 20-19 in Premiership Rugby on 3rd May 2003.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Owen Williams, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Sebastian De Chaves, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Tom Bristow.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Robert Barbieri, 21 Harry Wells, 22 Sam Harrison, 23 Matt Smith.

London Irish:15 Andrew Fenby, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 James Short, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Jebb Sinclair, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Gerard Ellis 17 Matt Parr 18 Leo Halavatau 19 Dan Leo 20 Tom Guest 21 Tom

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