Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v Bath

30th November 2012 06:07

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Martin Castrogiovanni Italy 2011

Starting: Martin Castrogiovanni

Martin Castrogiovanni and Marcos Ayerza return to the Leicester line-up for Saturday's Aviva Premiership match against Bath at Welford Road.

Both props have been on international duty but they return to Tigers colours for the Round 10 fixture against old rivals Bath.

Thomas Waldrom and Anthony Allen, who are both members of the England Elite Player Squad, are also included in Saturday's starting team.

Tigers are without the five players in the England squad and the injured Toby Flood, Logovi'i Mulipola, Steve Mafi, Wessel Jooste and Vereniki Goneva. Miles Benjamin and Tom Croft are working their way back from long-term injury. Boris Stankovich is suspended.

Meanwhile, Bath's internationals Horacio Agulla, Paul James and Francois Louw will be back in action for the West Country side on their away trip.

Agulla, who returns from playing for Argentina, will be making his first start in Bath colours against his old teammates, and he knows that a tough challenge lies ahead.

"It will be a bit strange for me going into the other changing room at Welford Road, but it will be nice to go back. I have a lot of good memories from my time there, but I'm a Bath player now so I want to go up there and hopefully get a good result with the boys.

"We're really looking forward to the game. We had a great win last weekend against Quins, but we know that Leicester are a really good team, so we will need to be 100% on our game."

Agulla takes the outside centre shirt, with Matt Banahan lining up inside him. Having been released by England, Tom Biggs is named on the left wing as Kyle Eastmond continues on the right, and Nick Abendanon starts once again at full-back.

James and Louw, who have been representing Wales and South Africa respectively, both come into the starting line-up.

James props down alongside Lee Mears and Anthony Perenise in the front row, whilst Louw comes in on the blindside flank. Stuart Hooper and Dave Attwood combine once more in the second row, as Guy Mercer and Simon Taylor complete the scrum on the openside and at number 8.

Stephen Donald, who was named Man of the Match in the victory over Harlequins last weekend, renews his half-back partnership with Michael Claassens.

Form: Leicester Tigers have won three of their last five matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby, and have lost just once at Welford Road since last October: 9-22 to Harlequins on 22 September. Bath Rugby's last six fixtures in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. Bath's only away win since February in the Premiership was 24-23 at Worcester on 1 September. Leicester's only defeat in their last nine Premiership encounters with Bath since 2008 was 25-26 at The Rec last October. Bath have won just once before at Welford Road in this competition: 13-12 on 29 November 2003.

The teams:

Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 George Chuter, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Kyle Eastmond, 13 Horacio Agulla, 12 Matt Banahan, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Simon Taylor, 7 Guy Mercer, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Lee Mears, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Josh Ovens, 21 Mark McMillan, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Date: Saturday, December 1
Kick-off: 12:30
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Alan Hughes
Timekeeper: Trevor Fisher
Assessor: Matthew Peters

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle vs Sale15:15
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International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
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Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
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Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
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Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
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Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
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International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
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International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
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Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
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Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
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International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821