Leicester Tigers v London Irish preview

Defending Premiership champions, Leicester Tigers have reached the playoffs for a seventh successive season. The Tigers have lost just one of their last 14 Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters.


London Irish slipped up 20-26 at home to Northampton Saints last time out, but won their most recent away match, 34-20 against Sale at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on 16 April.


Leicester have won five of their last six encounters with London Irish, whilst the Exiles only previous victory of any sort at Welford Road since they first visited in 1923 was in the Premiership in May 2003.


Half-backs Flood and Youngs who missed the win at Newcastle Falcons in Round 21 which secured Tigers a home game in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals, but return for the visit of Irish in an otherwise unchanged team.


Tigers go into the final round of league fixtures on top of the Aviva Premiership table and director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “We’ve had some good wins on the road but now we have a big game at Welford Road and we want to go into the semi-finals next week on the back of a good performance.”


London Irish has named Tom Homer to starts at full back and he will be joined by Adam Thompstone and Topsy Ojo in the back three. Jonathan Joseph replaces Elvis Seveali’i at outside centre and Richard Thorpe starts at number 8.


London Irish head coach Toby Booth said: “We have prepared well for Saturday’s game with Leicester and we know what is at stake.


We will approach the game in the same manner that we always do and look to come away with the right result.”


Match : Leicester Tigers v London Irish
Date : Saturday 7 May
Venue : Welford Road
Kick Off : 3pm
Referee: Greg Garner (18th Premiership game)


Teams


Leicester Tigers 15 Scott Hamilton , 14 Matt Smith , 13 Manu Tuilagi , 12 Anthony Allen , 11 Alesana Tuilagi , 10 Toby Flood , 9 Ben Youngs , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 George Chuter , 3 Martin Castrogiovanni , 4 Ed Slater , 5 George Skivington , 6 Tom Croft , 7 Craig Newby (c) , 8 Thomas Waldrom


Replacements , 16 Rob Hawkins , 17 Boris Stankovich , 18 Dan Cole , 19 Steve Mafi , 20 Ben Woods , 21 James Grindal , 22 Jeremy Staunton , 23 Horacio Agulla


London Irish :15.Tom Homer; 14. Topsy Ojo; 13.Jonathan Joseph; 12. Seilala Mapusua; 11. Adam Thompstone; 10. Dan Bowden; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1.Clarke Dermody (Captain); 2. David Paice; 3.Faan Rautenbach; 4. Nick Kennedy; 5. Bob Casey; 6. Jamie Gibson; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. Richard Thorpe


Replacements: 16. James Buckland; 17.Alex Corbisiero; 18. Max Lahiff; 19. Gary Johnson; 20. Chris Hala’ufia; 21. Elvis Seveali’i; 22. Chris Malone; 23. Darren Allinson

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