Leicester Tigers v Gloucester LV= Cup Preview

Leicester Tigers will welcome back nine internationals for their first appearances of the season in Friday’s LV= Cup tie against Gloucester Rugby at Welford Road.

Leicester Tigers Director of rugby Richard Cockerill has named England World Cup squad members Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Thomas Waldrom, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi in the line-up for the home game against the Anglo-Welsh cup holders.

Argentina duo Marcos Ayerza and Horacio Agulla are also back in a team led by skipper Geordan Murphy. Alesana Tuilagi, who returned from his World Cup campaign with Samoa in time to make his seasonal debut in the last home game against Harlequins, also has a starting place. England lock Louis Deacon is named among the replacements.

“The World Cup players have all been back in training this week and they are all very keen to get back out and play for us,” said Cockerill.

“We’ve had a tough start to the season and we have to start winning games, on one knows that better than us. The return of the internationals allows us to pick from a position of strength with more competition for places.

“It’s great for the club and for the supporters to have them back and we now have to kick on.”

Only Martin Castrogiovanni and Ben Youngs of the World Cup contingent are sidelined.

“Castro has had a bit of a hamstring injury and we want to make sure that is right before we push him back in and Ben has returned from the World Cup unfit to play,” said Cockerill.

Niall Morris, Ed Slater and Steve Mafi are rested after playing in each of the opening seven games. Micky Young, Mathew Tait, Anthony Allen, Boris Stankovich, Julian White and Billy Twelvetrees are unavailable due to injury.

Meanwhile, Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Bryan Redpath has named Jim Hamilton, Rory Lawson, Scott Lawson and Alasdair Strokosch to start this weekend after they came off the bench last weekend.

In addition, Akapusi Qera makes his first Gloucester appearance since representing Fiji in New Zealand and Morgan has recovered from the hand injury he picked up at Edgeley Park a fortnight ago.

There is also a recall for Tom Voyce on the left wing as Charlie Sharples is rested following a clash of heads with Freddie Burns last weekend.

Gloucester’s defence of the LV= Cup got off to a good start last Saturday with the 58-27 win over Sale Sharks whereas a young looking Tigers side slipped to a 31-3 defeat away at the Scarlets.

However, Leicester will be a far different proposition this weekend back in front of their own supporters and able to call upon a number of their own World Cup players.

Redpath knows that Gloucester will have to up their game from last weekend’s effort.

“We fell off a few tackles, allowed them to get their offload game going and gave them a real chance.”

“But we had a better balance to our game and were able to call upon a strong bench of international players and came away comfortable in the end.”

“I looked at their side last weekend I know Richard (Cockerill) has between eight and ten players coming back. So, what we have to do is focus on what we are.”

“We expect their full metal jacket to come out on Friday night. It’ll be a great challenge and a great physical battle. They’re a dangerous animal when they have their backs against the wall.”

Match : Leicester Tigers v Gloucester Rugby
Date : Friday 21 October 2011
Venue : Welford Road
Kick Off :7.45pm


Leicester Tigers

15 Geordan Murphy (c) , 14 Horacio Agulla , 13 Matt Smith , 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi , 11 Alesana Tuilagi , 10 Toby Flood , 9 Sam Harrison , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 Tom Youngs , 3 Dan Cole , 4 George Skivington , 5 Geoff Parling , 6 Tom Croft , 7 Julian Salvi , 8 Thomas W

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