Planet Rugby

Preview: Leicester v London Welsh

08th February 2013 12:17

Share:

Matt Smith Treviso Try

100 up: Matt Smith

Matt Smith will make his 100th starting appearance for Leicester in the club's Aviva Premiership match against London Welsh on Saturday.

The 27-year-old will follow his dad Ian in making 100 starts for the club, becoming the first father-and-son combination to achieve this feat in the side's 133-year history.

Ian Smith went on to 331 appearances for the club as a back-rower between 1977 and 1991, including five Cup Finals, while Matt made his debut in March 2006.

Anthony Allen, Niall Morris and Adam Thompstone return to the Tigers backline, with Sam Harrison and George Ford linking up at half-back.

Tom Croft and Julian Salvi are named in the forward pack, with Marcos Ayerza and Logovi'i Mulipola joined by Rob Hawkins in the front-row.

Meanwhile, London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones makes nine changes for Saturday's game.

The Exiles rounded off their LV= Cup campaign last Sunday at the Kassam Stadium with a 42-14 defeat to the Dragons.

In the backs, Tom Arscott comes in at full-back and Phil MacKenzie moves from the left to the right wing to accommodate the returning Nick Scott. There's also a new half-back combination with Gordon Ross and Tyson Keats returning to the starting line-up.

In the forwards, Franck Montanella starts at loosehead, while Adam Balding, returning to his former club, Michael Hills and Ed Jackson make up an entirely new back row.

Leicester provided London Welsh with their first-ever opponents in the Aviva Premiership in September, but spoilt the party when they ran out 38-13 winners at the Kassam.

"We're keen to see how much we've improved since we played Leicester in September - that game was a line in the sand for us," said Jones.

"It was a tough day for us but we've come on a little bit since then and we're keen to see exactly just how far we've improved.

"Leicester and all of the teams in the top half of the table prepare for this period of the season, when the national sides are at full complement with members of their squad, so we don't expect any weakness in the Leicester side we play on Saturday.

"We've learnt a lot of lessons about ourselves over the past four weeks in the Amlin Challenge Cup and the LV= Cup. We've improved certain aspects of our game and we're looking to carry those forward against Leicester."

Form: Leicester Tigers have won their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters since tripping up at London Wasps in round nine. The Tigers' only home loss at Welford Road in any competition since October 2011 was to Harlequins, 9-22, on 22 September. London Welsh's only win in their last eight matches in all tournaments was 62-5 over Prato in the European Challenge Cup at Oxford on 12 January. The Exiles' only away victory in the Premiership so far came at Sale on 21 September. Leicester have won their last five games against London Welsh since the Exiles most recent victory over the Tigers - 9-6 on 19 September 1987 at Welford Road in a friendly fixture. Leicester won 38-13 when the two clubs met in the Premiership at Kassam Stadium in round one.

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 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Brett Deacon, 21 Micky Young, 22 Dan Bowden, 23 Geordan Murphy.

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Sonny Parker, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gordon Ross, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Michael Hills, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (c), 3 Greg Bateman, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Martin Purdy, 20 Ed Williamson, 21 Seb Jewell, 22 Gavin Henson, 23 Rob Lewis.

Date: Saturday, February 9
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Welford Road
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Steve Lee, Stuart Terheege
Timekeeper: Anthony Turner
Assessor: Nigel Yates

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411