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Preview: Leicester v Wasps

11th April 2014 11:42

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Geoff Parling Leicester premiership 2014

Back on Tigers bench: Geoff Parling

Leicester welcome Geoff Parling and Niall Morris back from injury for Saturday's sell-out Premiership clash with Wasps at Welford Road.

Second row Parling is named among the replacements on his return from shoulder surgery and is line for his first club appearance since mid-October, while wing Morris has sat out the last two months after surgery on a hand injury.

There are three changes in the forward pack following the Heineken Cup quarter-final in Clermont last weekend with Boris Stankovich and Fraser Balmain coming into the Tigers front row and Graham Kitchener joining captain Ed Slater in the second row.

Matt Smith comes into midfield alongside Manu Tuilagi in the only change to the backline.

International props Marcos Ayerza and Logovi'i Mulipola join Parling, Argentina flanker Pablo Matera and fly-half Toby Flood among the replacements.

"There was the obvious disappointment of missing out in Europe after going so close last week, but you re-focus very quickly with another tough game just seven days later," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"There are only four rounds left in the Aviva Premiership season and we know we have to keep going."

Meanwhile, London Wasps boss Dai Young has been forced to make a handful of changes.

Knocks picked up during Sunday's European clash against Gloucester mean Andrea Masi (knee), Joe Simpson (shoulder), Jake Cooper-Woolley (toe) and Kearnan Myall (neck) miss the game.

Tommy Bell comes in at full-back, while scrum-half Charlie Davies, prop Phil Swainston and lock James Cannon all make the starting line-up.

The six day turn-around sees rotation elsewhere in the squad, including Joe Launchbury on the bench and James Haskell rested after a significant amount of rugby played, and still to play, this season.

Form: Leicester Tigers are unbeaten in their last eight Aviva Premiership fixtures, including six successive victories. The Tigers have lost only once at Welford Road in the Premiership since February 2013: 16-23 to Harlequins in round seven. London Wasps' only victory in their last six Premiership encounters was 13-11 at Worcester in round 17. The Londoners have failed to score a try in a Premiership match only once since September 2012, that was at home to Northampton on 21st December 2013. The last ten Premiership contests between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day since the Wasps most recent victory at Welford Road on 26th September 2008.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 David Mele, 22 Toby Flood, 23 Niall Morris.

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 James Short, 13 Chris Bell (c), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Will Helu, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Guy Thompson, 6 Ed Jackson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 James Cannon, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Ricky Reeves, 19 Joe Launchbury, 20 Sam Jones, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Elliot Daly.

Date: Saturday, April 12
Venue: Welford Road
Kickoff: 15:00 (local, 14:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Kelvin Stewart
TMO: David Grashoff

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PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
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3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821