Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Leicester

21st December 2012 11:22

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SKY_MOBILE Geordan Murphy Leicester

Murphy: 200th Premiership appearance

Geordan Murphy and Toby Flood return to the Tigers team for Saturday's Aviva Premiership trip to face London Irish at Madejski Stadium.

Club captain Murphy will make his 200th Premiership appearance as he is included in the starting line-up for the first time since the win over Northampton Saints in early November.

He becomes the 19th player to reach that top-flight landmark, with club colleague George Chuter holding the all-time record with 258 appearances.

Fly-half Flood has recovered from a toe injury and makes his first club appearance since the end of October.

Graham Kitchener comes into the second row for Tigers, and Jordan Crane takes the number eight shirt with Thomas Waldrom ruled out by a calf injury picked up in last Saturday's Heineken Cup win over Treviso in Italy.

Meanwhile, Marland Yarde has recovered from injury and will start for London Irish.

Ian Humphreys will start at fly-half and Jebb Sinclair joins Declan Danaher and Chris Hala'ufia in the back row.

"It will be great to be playing back at the Madejski in front of our home crowd. Leicester has been the benchmark team in the Aviva Premiership for a long time now and they'll give us a thorough examination," said London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith.

"In saying that we don't fear any team in this league and the boys are itching to play the Tigers."

Form: London Irish have won just one of their last eight matches in all competitions: 34-28 at home to Sale in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on November 11. The Exiles have not been victorious at Madejski Stadium in the Aviva Premiership since beating Northampton there, 39-17, on 6 October. Leicester Tigers' solitary defeat in their last six fixtures was 12-14 to London Wasps at Adams Park in the Premiership on 25 November. The Tigers have won only one of their last four away games in the Premiership: 20-8 at Sale on 5 October. London Irish have won only one of their last ten encounters with the Tigers in all tournaments: 18-12 at Reading in the Premiership on 24 October 2009. Leicester have won on three of their last four visits to Madejski Stadium.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Darren Allinson,8 Chris Hala'ufia,7 Jebb Sinclair,6 Declan Danaher (c), 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17.Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Guy Armitage, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Jack Moates.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Geoff Parling, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Date: Saturday, December 22
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Ashley Rowden, Peter Huckle

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1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821