Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Newcastle

20th September 2013 10:30

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SKY_MOBILE Toby Flood Leicester

He's back: Toby Flood

Leicester Tigers will welcome back internationals Toby Flood, Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi for Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture against Newcastle.

All three will make their first appearances of the season in this week's Round 3 fixture.

Second-rower Graham Kitchener also returns from injury for his first game of the season and there is a Tigers debut for new signings Jamie Gibson in the back-row and American international full-back Blaine Scully.

Another new face, prop Tom Bristow, is selected among the replacements alongside British and Irish Lions trio Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Geoff Parling.

"We've had some very good players unavailable already this season and having some of them back in the fold is really good news for us, for the supporters and obviously for the players," said director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"Newcastle had a very good win Sale last week, and Dean Richards and John Wells will bring a well-drilled team who will want to make it very hard for us.

"In isolation it was disappointing to lose at Bath last weekend but we took a point out of the game and every point will count at some stage in the season. Six points from two games is a start for us but there is a long way to go."

Meanwhile, Rory Clegg starts at fly-half for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with the reigning champions.

Clegg, who kicked the winning points in last week's 15-14 victory at Sale Sharks, partners Warren Fury at the heart of the Falcons' backline, while centre Danny Barnes misses out with an elbow injury with potent runner James Fitzpatrick coming in at inside centre.

Matt Thompson drops to the bench to make wake way for Rob Vickers at hooker, and former Leicester man Kieran Brookes replaces Oliver Tomaszczyk at tighthead, who is ruled out through illness.

Carlo del Fava gets the nod at second-row while Mark Wilson and Chris York round off the changes in the back-row.

"We are under no illusions about how difficult it's going to be at Welford Road and I love challenges like these," said Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards.

"The lads are in positive mood following on from last week's victory at Sale and we'll go down there, give it our best shot and we've got nothing to lose.

"Welford Road is a great stage in which to play your rugby, and I know the boys can't wait."

Form: Leicester Tigers' only two defeats in their last ten Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters have both been at The Rec against at Bath. The Tigers have been defeated just once at Welford Road in their last 17 matches in all competitions: 27-32 to Saracens in February. Newcastle Falcons beat Sale 15-14 in Salford on Friday evening and have now won their last three Premiership away games, at Gloucester, Wasps and Sale. The Falcons most recent victory over the Tigers came at Kingston Park in the Premiership in March 2009, 14-10, whilst Newcastle's only victory at Welford Road since 1977 remains the 25-19 result on 30th December 1997 - Dean Richards' 314th and last ever game for Leicester.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Blaine Scully, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Thomas Waldrom, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Julian Salvi, 21 David Mele, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Niall Morris.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Adam Powell, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Chris York, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Dominic Barrow, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Rob Vickers, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Chris Pilgrim, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Alex Crockett.

Date: Saturday, September 21
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Peter Huckle
Television match official: Keith Lewis

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