Preview: Leicester v London Welsh

Date published: April 24 2015

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Brad Thorn and Graham Kitchener return from injury to line up for Leicester Tigers in Saturday's Premiership clash with London Welsh at Welford Road.

World Cup-winner Thorn has missed the last two games, while Kitchener has been sidelined since the win at London Irish in February.

International trio Michele Rizzo, Leonardo Ghiraldini and Logovi'i Mulipola start in the front-row, with Dan Cole rested and Marcos Ayerza ruled out by the hamstring injury suffered in the defeat at Saracens a fortnight ago.

There are changes too in the backline, with Mathew Tait and George Catchpole linking up in a new-look midfield. Blaine Scully and Adam Thompstone are on the wings and Niall Morris at full-back.

"We were disappointed with the result and how we played at Saracens and now we've got three huge games left with a place in the top four as the target," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

Meanwhile, London Welsh have made six changes to their side.

In the backs, Alan Awcock replaces Will Robinson at full-back while Rhys Crane comes in for Seb Stegmann on the right wing.

Olly Barkley starts at fly-half in place of Tristan Roberts, with James Lewis named at inside centre in place of Tom May.

In the forwards, former Tiger Ben Pienaar comes in at blindside flanker for another ex-Welford Road man, Richard Thorpe, who drops to the bench.

Chris Hala’ufia starts at number eight with Opeti Fonua named among the replacements.

The London Welsh starting XV includes eight members of its Championship winning team of last season, with three more named on the bench.

Form: Leicester Tigers have been defeated only once in their last 13 games of Aviva Premiership Rugby at Welford Road: 19-22 to London Irish in September 2014. The Tigers have scored only ten first-half tries in Premiership Rugby this season, the lowest tally of any of the twelve clubs. London Welsh have on average conceded in excess of 46 points per game in the first 19 rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby, whilst the only two sides not to have tallied a try bonus point against the Exiles are Newcastle Falcons and London Irish. Leicester have not been defeated by London Welsh since a 6-9 scoreline at Welford Road in a club fixture in September 1987.

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Niall Morris, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 George Catchpole, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Ben Youngs (c), 8 Laurence Pearce, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Seremaia Bai.

London Welsh: 15 Alan Awcock, 14 Rhys Crane, 13 Nic Reynolds, 12 James Lewis, 11 Chris Elder, 10 Olly Barkley, 9 Rob Lewis, 8 Chris Hala’ufia 7 Darren Waters, 6 Ben Pienaar, 5 Matt Corker (C), 4 Ben West, 3 Ben Cooper, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Nathan Trevett.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Eddie Aholelei, 18 Jack Gilding, 19 Josh McNally, 20 Opeti Fonua , 21 Richard Thorpe, 22 Paul Rowley, 23 Will Robinson

Date: Saturday, April 25
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off:  15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Simon McConnell & Nigel Carrick.
TMO: David Grashoff.

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