Planet Rugby



Preview: Leicester v Bath

04th May 2012 10:52


Steve Mafi Harlequins

Steve Mafi: Back at six

Steve Mafi and Martin Castrogiovanni return to the Leicester side that welcomes Bath to Welford Road on Saturday.

The Tigers have already secured their place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals but will have no intention of letting up against a Bath side that has endured a tough season.

Boss Richard Cockerill has made just two changes to the line-up that beat Harlequins last time out, with Castrogiovanni slotting in at prop and Mafi taking over the number six jersey from the injured Tom Croft.

"There is a good old rivalry between Leicester and Bath, and we still have everything to play for because we want to go into the semi-finals with some confidence and with a home draw," Cockerill told the club's official website.

"Our form has been good but it doesn't count for a huge amount unless you turn up and do it."

Bath are without injured skipper Stuart Hooper for the game, with Lee Mears taking over the captaincy.

Sir Ian McGeechan has made one further change for the encounter, his last in charge of the West Country outfit.

Dave Attwood replaces Hooper in the second row while on the wing Olly Woodburn comes in for Matt Carraro.

Form: Leicester Tigers have qualified for the Premiership playoffs for an eighth successive season and need a win in this encounter to secure a sixth home Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final. The Tigers have won nine successive matches since their 11-19 defeat at Exeter on 11 February. Bath Rugby need a maximum point victory to give themselves any hope of a Heineken Cup spot next season, and even that is still dependent on other results going their way. Bath's four game losing run ended with their 17-12 home win over Wasps last time out. Bath's only away win in Aviva Premiership Rugby since October came at Exeter on 25 February. Bath won 26-25 when the two teams met at the Rec in the Premiership in round five, to end a seven game winless streak against the Tigers in the competition. Bath have not achieved a season's double over Leicester since 2003/04.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs,8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 George Skivington, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Craig Newby, 20 Calum Green, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Scott Hamilton.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Olly Barkley, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Josh Ovens, 5 Ben Skirving, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 David Wilson, 2 Lee Mears, (c) 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Duncan Bell, 19 Will Spencer, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Kyle Eastmond.

Date: Saturday, May 5
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 14:00 (13:00 GMT)
Referee: Dean Richards
Assistant referees: Don Helme, Alan Hughes

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