Preview: Leicester v Wasps

Date published: January 6 2012

Anthony Allen and Geoff Parling return to the Leicester team for Saturday's Premiership clash with Wasps at Welford Road.

Anthony Allen and Geoff Parling return to the Leicester Tigers line up for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with London Wasps at Welford Road.

Centre Allen returns for the first time since the defeat by Saracens in September after recovering from a thumb injury, and Parling is back in action following a five-week absence with a knee injury.

Tigers are, however, without World Cup trio Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Louis Deacon due to injury. Flood is likely to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury, Tuilagi faces a month out with a hamstring problem and Deacon could sit out 3-4 months after injuring a hamstring in the Aviva Premiership win over Worcester Warriors at Christmas.

Allen's return this week allows Billy Twelvetrees to move to fly-half in Flood's absence.

Boris Stankovich, George Chuter and Tom Croft return to the forward pack, and Steve Mafi packs down alongside Parling in the second row.

Chuter, who became the Premiership's appearance record-holder when he came off the bench in last Sunday's win over Sale Sharks, starts at hooker in his 241st top-flight match.

Meanwhile, London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young has made four changes to his starting side.

With an unchanged pack from last weekend, there are four personnel changes in the backs as well as one positional switch ahead of the trip to Welford Road.

Hugo Southwell and Richard Haughton both return to the side at full-back and wing respectively, after injury ruled them out last weekend.

The other two changes are to the half-backs, with Nic Berry starting at scrum-half after a number of energising performances from the bench in recent weeks, and Ryan Davis starting at 10, having played the majority of last weekend's game after injury forced Nick Robinson from the field before half time.

Elliot Daly earns himself the 13 shirt after an encouraging performance at full-back last weekend.

London Wasps have also named Mike Powell, who is on loan from London Welsh, on the bench after injury to Ed O'Donoghue during the week left Dai Young short of options in the second row.

Jack Wallace takes a spot on the bench in place of Dom Waldouck who picked up a knock to his ankle late this week.

“We know we are facing one of the league's in-form sides but we won't be lacking in motivation going up there as the players really want to turn around their fortunes after a few disappointing results,” said Young.

Form: Leicester Tigers are the best team in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form, having attained 25 of a possible 30 points in their last six matches. Tigers have not been beaten in the Premiership since Harlequins visited Welford Road on 8 October. London Wasps find themselves in 11th spot in the Premiership table – their lowest position this late in the season since season 2001/02. Wasps were defeated 0-6 by Worcester at Adams Park on New Year's Day – the first time they have ever been “nilled” at home in a competitive match. The last five encounters between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day. Wasps won 35-29 when they clashed at Adams Park in round two, whilst Wasps have not won at Welford Road since September 2008.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Dan Cole, 2 George Chuter, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Julian White, 18 Logoviii Mulipola, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Ben Woods, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Scott Hamilton.

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Richard Haughton, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Nic Berry, 8 Sam Jones, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Tinus Du Plessis, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Richard Birkett, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Bob Baker, 18 Jeremy Castex, 19 Mike Powell, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Jack Wallace, 23 Chris Mayor.

Date: Saturday, January 7
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth