Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v London Irish

06th May 2011 11:28

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SKY_MOBILE Toby Flood - Leicester

Back at 10: Toby Flood

England half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs return to the Leicester line-up for Saturday's sell-out game against London Irish at Welford Road.

Flood and Youngs missed the win at Newcastle in Round 21 which secured Tigers a home game in the Premiership semi-finals, but return for the visit of Irish in an otherwise unchanged team.

Tigers go into the final round of league fixtures on top of the Aviva Premiership table and director of rugby Richard Cockerill expects a big finish.

"We've had some good wins on the road but now we have a big game at Welford Road and we want to go into the semi-finals next week on the back of a good performance," he said.

Meanwhile, London Irish have named Tom Homer at full-back and he will be joined by Adam Thompstone and Topsy Ojo in a dangerous looking back-three.

Jonathan Joseph replaces Elvis Seveali'i at outside centre and Richard Thorpe starts at number number eight for the tough trip to Welford Road.

"We have prepared well for Saturday's game with Leicester and we know what is at stake," said Exiles boss Toby Booth.

"We will approach the game in the same manner that we always do and look to come away with the right result."

Form: Leicester have won five of their last six encounters with London Irish, whilst the Exiles only previous victory of any sort at Welford Road since they first visited in 1923 was in the Premiership in May 2003. Defending Premiership champions, Leicester Tigers have reached the playoffs for a seventh successive season. The Tigers have lost just one of their last 14 Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters. London Irish slipped up 20-26 at home to Northampton Saints last time out, but won their most recent away match, 34-20 against Sale at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on 16 April.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Matt Smith, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Craig Newby (capt), 6 Tom Croft, 5 George Skivington, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Ben Woods, 21 James Grindal, 22 Jeremy Staunton, 23 Horacio Agulla.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Paul Hodgson, 8 Richard Thorpe, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Bob Casey, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody (capt).
Replacements: 16 James Buckland, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Gary Johnson, 20 Chris Hala'ufia, 21 Elvis Seveali'i, 22 Chris Malone, 23 Darren Allinson.

Date: Saturday, May 7
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Greg Garner

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