Leicester Tigers v Worcester Premiership Preview

Leicester Tigers have named their team to face Worcester Warriors in their Aviva Premiership Rugby opener at Welford Road with four new signings in the 23-man squad.

The matchday squad also includes all six Tigers who shared in the British and Irish Lions success in Australia this summer.

With new club captain Toby Flood injured in the pre-season match against Ulster Rugby last week, Louis Deacon will lead out the team on home soil for the first match of the new season in his 250th appearance for the club.

Half-backs David Mele and Ryan Lamb make their club debuts, with fellow summer signings Neil Briggs and Owen Williams named among the replacements.

Lions forwards Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft are included in the starting line-up, with Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi on the bench.

Leicester Tigers won their opening clash of the 2011/12 campaign against London Welsh – their first victory on the opening weekend since 2008.

The Tigers’ only loss in their last eight Aviva Premiership Rugby matches was at Bath, 26-27, on 20 April.

Worcester Warriors’ solo victory in round one of the Premiership came in 2011 when they defeated Sale at Sixways.

The Warriors finished off last season with five straight defeats and have not won away from home in the competition since a visit to London Wasps on New Year’s Day 2012.

The Tigers have won their last eight matches against Worcester, whilst the Warriors’ have never won in eleven previous visits to Welford Road since 1895.

Worcester Warriors Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has given competitive debuts to five summer signings in the team for this week.

Captain Jonathan Thomas, Ignacio Mieres, Jeremy Su’a, Mike Williams and Jeremy Becasseau will all start at Welford Road as Dean Ryan takes charge of his first top-flight match in over four years.

There is also a return to action for centre Ravai Fatiaki, who missed much of last season through injury.

He will be partnered in midfield by fellow Fijian Josh Matavesi, with David Lemi, Josh Drauniniu and Chris Pennell completing the backline.

John Andress lines-up alongside Ed Shervington and Becasseau in the front row with Dean Schofield partnering Williams at lock.

Sam Betty and Semisi Taulava complete the back row as Warriors go head-to-head with last season’s Aviva Premiership champions.

Dean Ryan said: “We get going on Sunday and we have the challenge of facing Leicester Tigers at Welford Road – but it doesn’t get any better than starting there.

“Leicester are champions and Welford Road is not an easy place to go at any time. But I think we will be more excited there than at any other stadium.

“We will gain ten per cent because we are fired up about being at Welford Road and we have a chance.

“That applies to every single game if we are competitive. We have got to be at our best and they have got to take us for granted – and it happens all the time.

“Competitive behaviour is something we have got to get in this club every time we take to the field and that doesn’t matter where we are.”

In the build-up to the big match, Tigers In The Park is open to supporters of both teams from 10am, with free admission, live music and entertainment, carnival stalls and fun zone activities for all the family.

Tigers In The Park is based on Nelson Mandela Park opposite the stadium and on the plaza at Welford Road.

The world-famous Red Arrows, the RAF aerobatics team, will also be making an appearance with a fly-past at 1.25pm.

Match : Leicester Tigers Worcester Warriors
Date : Sunday 8th September
Venue : Welford Road,
Kick Off : 2pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee
: Luke Pearce (15th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson and Greg Macdonal

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