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 , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne18:30
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954