Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Leicester

21st February 2014 10:40

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darren allinson london irish

Starter: Darren Allinson

London Irish have made one change from the side that played Wasps last weekend for the visit of Leicester on Sunday.

Darren Allinson will start at scrum-half in place of Tomás O'Leary where he will partner Ian Humphreys.

Marland Yarde has recovered from injury and is named among the replacements along with Sean Kennedy whose loan deal from Edinburgh is extended.

Matt Parr, David Paice and Jamie Hagan make up the front row with George Skivington and Nic Rouse in the second row. Kieran Low and Blair Cowan will play alongside Ofisa Treviranus in the back-row.

Darren Allinson and Ian Humphreys will start at half-back with Shane Geraghty and Eamonn Sheridan in the centre. Andrew Fenby, Alex Lewington and James O'Connor make up the back three for the third consecutive week.

"We have produced two very good displays on the road in recent weeks, but they will count for nothing if we cannot back it up again on Sunday," said London Irish Director of Rugby, Brian Smith.

"Leicester are a great side and will be formidable opponents, however we are back at home in front of our supporters and want to put in another good performance on Sunday."

Meanwhile, Ed Slater will captain Leicester Tigers for the first time.

Second-rower Slater, 25, has been training with the England squad during this season's Six Nations but returns to club duties and partners Louis Deacon at lock.

Owen Williams starts at fly-half, while Blaine Scully joins the backline and Tigers' top try-scorer Vereniki Goneva moves to centre alongside Anthony Allen.

Rob Hawkins returns to the front row, with Deacon replacing Graham Kitchener in the only two changes from the forward pack that started the win over Gloucester last weekend.

Steve Mafi is selected among the replacements, together with Matt Smith who could make his 150th club appearance.

Form: London Irish's only defeat in their last seven fixtures in all tournaments was 15-22 away at London Wasps in the LV= Cup on 21st January. The Exiles' 22-9 win at Madejski Stadium on 4 January snapped a three game losing streak at the venue in the Premiership.

Leicester Tigers only loss in their last seven Premiership encounters was at Saracens on 21st December, making the hot favourites with bookmakers like Titan Bet.

The Tigers were victorious in their most recent away game at Worcester but have not managed to win successive away games in the competition since last March.

Leicester are unbeaten in their last nine fixtures with London Irish in all competitions since the Exiles' 18-12 win in Reading in the Premiership in October 2009.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Alex Lewington, 13 Eamonn Sheridan, 12 Shane Geraghty, 11 Andrew Fenby, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington, 3 Jamie Hagan, 2 David Paice, 1 Matt Parr
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 John Yapp, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Gerard Ellis, 21 Topsy Ojo, 22 Marland Yarde, 23 Sean Kennedy

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Louis Deacon, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 David Mele, 22 Matt Smith, 23 Toby Flood

Date: Sunday 23rd February
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 1300 (localand GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle (Eng)
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff, Paul Dix (both Eng)
TMO: David Sainsbury (Eng)

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