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Preview: Leicester v Worcester

07th September 2012 11:18

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100th game: Scott Hamilton

Geordan Murphy will lead Leicester Tigers for their first home game of his 16th term at the club when Worcester visit Welford Road on Saturday.

Ireland international Murphy has made more than 300 appearances for Tigers since his 1997 debut.

Scott Hamilton is in line for his 100th starting appearance in a backline showing just one change from last week's victory at London Welsh as Sam Harrison steps in for the injured Micky Young at scrum-half. Vereniki Goneva makes his first appearance in a competitive fixture at Welford Road following his off-season move from Tarbes.

Boris Stankovich, Martin Castrogiovanni and second-row Graham Kitchener return to the forward pack for their first starts of the season.

Australian scrum-half Pat Phibbs is called up to the matchday 23 following Young's ankle injury.

"Worcester were very much up for the battle against Bath last weekend and we expect another tough contest," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"We have to be accurate in what we are doing. Whenever we made mistakes against London Welsh it cost us and that is a warning."

Meanwhile, Warriors scrum-half Jonny Arr is set to play his 100th game for the club.

Arr, who made his club debut in December 2007 against London Irish, is named among the replacements for the clash as he closes in on the memorable milestone.

Head Coach Richard Hill has named exactly the same line-up that faced Bath on the opening day of the campaign. And he has praised Arr's contribution to the Warriors as he prepares to an exclusive group who have made a century of appearances for the club.

"It's fantastic for Jonny that he is set to join the 100 Club and I'm sure all our supporters will be keen to congratulate him on such an achievement," said Hill.

"Jonny has been a wonderful servant to the Warriors over the last five years and he is a key member of the squad. His attitude and work ethic are fantastic and he always strives to better himself as a player.

"We have named him among the replacements to face Leicester and I know he will be itching to get involved and make an impact at Welford Road.

"It's always a big challenge to play away at Leicester Tigers," added Hill.

"But it's vitally important we pick a team that can play the manner in which we want to perform.

"There are certain things we need to consider about the opposition but, by-and-large, we are recruiting and selecting players who can play the style of rugby we want to promote.

"We are excited about the game and moving on after the bitter disappointment of losing to Bath on the opening weekend of fixtures."

Form: Leicester Tigers won their opening game of a Premiership season for the first time since 2008 in overcoming new boys London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday. The Tigers have won their last dozen games at Welford Road in all competitions. Worcester Warriors lost by the narrowest of margins at home to Bath on Saturday, and have now slipped to five successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats. The Warriors' solo victory on their travels in the Premiership since 2009 came at London Wasps on New Year's Day 2012. Leicester have won their last six games against Worcester, whilst the Warriors are yet to taste victory at Welford Road.

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The teams:

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy (capt), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Rob Andrew, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Pat Phibbs, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Josh Drauniniu, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Shaun Perry, 8 Semisi Taulava, 7 Sam Betty, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Dean Schofield (capt), 4 James Percival, 3 John Andress, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Hayes, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 James Currie, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Jonny Arr, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Ben Howard.

Date: Saturday, September 8
Venue: Welford Road, Leicester
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small

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PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954