Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Harlequins

21st September 2012 09:39

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Jordan Crane

Stand-in skipper: Jordan Crane

Jordan Crane will captain Leicester Tigers at Welford Road for Saturday's match against defending Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins.

The Tigers number eight has been part of the matchday squad in all three games so far this season, but runs out at the head of the team in the absence of Geordan Murphy, who suffered a knee injury in the draw against Saracens at Wembley last weekend.

Scott Hamilton reverts to full-back in place of Murphy, with Niall Morris coming into the backline. Matt Smith is also included.

Boris Stankovich and Martin Castrogiovanni are in the front row alongside hooker Tom Youngs.

Adam Thompstone, a summer signing from London Irish, could make his Tigers debut after being included among the replacements.

Meanwhile, there is just one change in the Harlequins backline where Matt Hopper starts at outside centre, replacing George Lowe who took a knock during training this week.

In the forwards, Olly Kohn returns to partner George Robson in the second-row while Maurie Fa'asavalu joins Nick Easter and captain, Chris Robshaw in the back-row.

Form: Leicester Tigers are unbeaten in the regular season of Aviva Premiership rugby since they visited Exeter on February 11 and lost 11-19. The Tigers have not lost in any competition at Welford Road since Harlequins were the visitors on 8 October, 2010. Harlequins, the defending Aviva Premiership champions, have made the perfect start to their defence in picking up maximum points from the first three rounds, something no side has achieved before. Quins are unbeaten away from home in the tournament since they visited Gloucester on February 25. This is a repeat of last season's Premiership final at Twickenham, whilst the previous three meetings in the league phase of the competition were won by the away side on the day. Quins' 27-18 victory at Welford Road in October was their first in the Premiership at the famous old venue.

The teams:

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

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Date: Saturday, September 22
Kick-off: 17:30 BST
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: David Pearson
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Gareth Copsey
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Timekeeper: David Hudson

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5Leicester Tigers821