Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v London Wasps

12th April 2013 12:08

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Logovi i Mulipola Leicester Aviva Premiership

In at prop: Logovi'i Mulipola

Leicester have made one change from the line-up that lost to Toulon for their domestic clash with Wasps as Logovi'i Mulipola replaces Marcos Ayerza.

Tigers sit in second place in the Premiership table with just three rounds remaining.

Mulipola takes over at prop from Ayerza who suffered a broken collarbone in Toulon. Fraser Balmain earns a place among the replacements after Mulipola's elevation.

Toby Flood will captain the Tigers at home for the first time after previously leading the team on successive away trips to Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints and Toulon.

"We've had three very tough away games in the last three weeks. We've had great travelling support but it seems a long time since we played at home and everyone is looking forward to getting back to Welford Road," said director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"Wasps have played very well this season. They certainly have their threats and they'll be looking for a big finish to the season.

"Everyone was obviously disappointed that we were unable to go further in Europe but you move on. We're in good spirits and looking forward to it."

Wasps meanwhile, following a very demanding schedule over the last few weeks, have a number of players who are unavailable for this weekend's trip to Welford Road.

Those who have been ruled out include Marco Wentzel (shoulder), Hugo Southwell (knee), Stephen Jones (Achilles), T Rhys Thomas (glute), Phil Swainston (knee) and Tim Payne (neck).

Joe Launchbury and Andrea Masi are both rested following a busy 6 Nations and domestic schedule in the last few weeks.

"We've had an incredibly tough run of games in recent weeks and because of that we have a squad that are quite battered and have a number of guys who are not quite right for this weekend," said director of rugby Dai Young.

"We know how tough it is to go to Welford Road and get a result but this is the first of three very important games for us in the chase for a top six finish."

Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby matches since their 27-32 defeat at home to Saracens in round 16. That defeat is the only one that the Tigers have suffered at Welford Road in any competition since September. London Wasps have lost their last five matches in all competitions since overcoming Gloucester 33-29 at Adams Park on 17th February. Wasps have won just twice away from home in the Premiership since October 2011, they came in successive away games against London Welsh in round 12 and Harlequins in round 14. The last eight Premiership encounters between the two clubs have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Wasps have not won at Welford Road since 26th September 2008.

The teams:

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

Wasps: 15 Elliot Daly, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Chris Bell (c), 12 Charlie Hayter, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 James Cannon, 3 Will Taylor, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Zak Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Morris, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Lorenzo Romano, 19 Alex Rae, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Jack Wallace.

Date: Sunday, April 14
Kick-off: 15:45 BST
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Peter Huckle, Gareth Copsey
Television match official: Graham Hughes

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