Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v London Irish

03rd May 2013 00:20

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Martin Castrogiovanni in Leicester Tigers defence

Starting: Martin Castrogiovanni

Veterans Geordan Murphy and Martin Castrogiovanni return to the Leicester starting line-up for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with London Irish.

Club captain Murphy lines up at full-back in his 322nd appearance for the Welford Road club, while Castrogiovanni is named in the front-row.

There is also a change on the wing as Vereniki Goneva comes into the starting line-up.

All six Tigers named in the British and Irish Lions squad earlier this week are included in the 23, with starting places for Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs, Tom Youngs, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft, and Dan Cole in the replacements.

Meanwhile, lock George Skivington will captain London Irish in their final Aviva Premiership match of the season against his former club.

Irish have selected Alex Corbisiero, Scott Lawson and Halani Aulika in the front-row. Bryn Evans will partner Skivington in the second-row and Matt Garvey, Jamie Gibson and Ofisa Treviranus make up the back-row.

Darren Allinson will partner Ian Humphreys in the halves with Guy Armitage and Jonathan Joseph in the centres. Topsy Ojo, Marland Yarde and Tom Homer are in the back three.

"We have had a good preparation in the lead up to tomorrow's match. It is our last game of the season so we are keen to put in a strong performance in what will be a huge challenge for the squad," said London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith.

Form: The Tigers would already be home and hosed in their pursuit of a top-two place had they not suffered the narrowest of defeats last time out - going down to Bath Rugby by a single point. And now they must see off a resurgent London Irish side, who will be looking to end what has been a frustrating season on a high note at Welford Road. Irish meanwhile, are bidding for what would be only their second Aviva Premiership away win of the season, having pulled clear of danger at the foot of the table thanks to four victories and a draw in their last five matches at the Madejski Stadium.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Graham Kitchener, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Fraser Balmain, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Mathew Tait.

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

Date: Saturday, May 4
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 14:30
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart and Andrew Watson.

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2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39