Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Leinster

18th January 2008 13:08

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Martin Corry Lewis Moody Leicester

Lame Tigers: Martin Corry (front) and Lewis Moody

Martin Castrogiovanni and Seru Rabeni both return from injury to take their place in the Leicester Tigers team for Saturday's Heineken Cup clash with Leinster at Welfford Road.

Castrogiovanni missed last weekend's trip to Edinburgh, while Rabeni was absent for that fixture and the previous match away to Harlequins.

The Italy prop is named at loosehead prop, with the Fiji star wearing the number 12 shirt.

The rest of the backline is the same as that which featured at Murrayfield, with the exception of Frank Murphy who comes in at scrum-half.

Tigers skipper Martin Corry and Lewis Moody are added to the injury list, as are Dan Hipkiss and Aaron Mauger. Loose forward Tom Croft also misses out after taking a knock in the match with Edinburgh.

"We have picked the best team available," said Tigers head coach Marcelo Loffreda.

"We have a lot of trust and belief in this team. We trust in all the squad and we go into this game with a lot of confidence in this team.

"We are going to look for what we look for in every game. It doesn't matter now if we have the option or not of qualifying. This is important for our pride, for the club, for the spectators and, most of all, for ourselves."

Meanwhile, Leo Cullen will make his 50th Heineken Cup appearance on Saturday against his former club (37 appearances with Leinster and 12 with Leicester Tigers).

The Newtownmountkennedy man will partner international colleague Malcolm O'Kelly in the second row for Saturday's must-win game.

Guy Easterby will start his 64th and final game for Leinster at scrum-half and partners Felipe Contepomi at half-back in the only change to the backline that started the 20-13 victory over Toulouse last weekend.

Brian O'Driscoll captains the side and partners Gordon D'Arcy at centre.

There is also one change in the pack with Stephen Keogh coming in for Keith Gleeson in the back-row with Shane Jennings moving to openside flanker.

Gleeson is named on a strong replacements bench which includes returning Springbok prop Ollie le Roux as well as Cian Healy and Jonathan Sexton who were both selected for Ireland's Six Nations squad earlier this week.

Form: Leinster travel to Welford Road needing a minor miracle to reach the last eight of the Heineken Cup. Brian O'Driscoll and comany face last season's finalists on their own patch but there task will not have been made any easier after the Tigers were eliminated from the competition by Edinburgh last weekend. European giants Leicester will have pride to play for and Leinster have to win as well as Edinburgh doing them a favour by recording a win in France

Leicester Tigers: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Johne Murphy, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Seru Rabeni, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Ben Herring, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Julian White, 2 Benjamin Kasyser, 1 Martin Castrogiovanni.

Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Dave Young, 19 Ben Kay, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Ian Humphreys, 22 Ayoola Erinle.

Leinster: 15 Girvan Dempsey, 14 Luke Fitzgerald, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Rob Kearney, 10 Felipe Contepomi, 9 Guy Easterby, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Stephen Keogh, 5 Malcolm O'Kelly, 4 Leo Cullen, 3 Stephen Knoop, 2 Bernard Jackman, 1 Stan Wright.

Replacements: 16 Ollie Le Roux, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Cameron Jowitt, 19 Keith Gleeson, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Jonny Sexton, 22 Brian Blaney.

Date: Saturday, 19 January

Venue: Welford Road

Kick-off: 15:30 GMT

Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)

Touch Judges: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), Patrick Bellet (France)

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