Gloucester Rugby v Leicester Tigers Premiership Preview

Gloucester host Leicester Tigers in the Premiership at Kingsholm

Leicester Tigers have named Peter Betham and Greg Bateman in their team to play Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Kingsholm.

The Tigers will be without England centre Manu Tuilagi due to a hamstring injury after coming through his first three appearances following a 15-month lay-off.

Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Manu has just tweaked a hamstring which will probably mean a couple of weeks out. He’s done well since his return from a long-term injury and we’re looking after him. We’ve got guys like Mat Tait and Matt Smith who have been in good form this season so we have options in the backline.”

Australia international Betham reclaims a starting berth after being included among the replacements in the European Champions Cup match against Stade Francais last Sunday, while hooker Bateman returns from injury to make his seventh appearance of the season.

Tommy Bell comes into the team at full-back, with Betham joining Telusa Veainu on the wings.

Gonzalo Camacho is included among the replacements alongside Jack Roberts who is included in the matchday 23 for the first time this season.

Ben Youngs and Dan Cole remain with the England squad preparing for the start of the Six Nations, and hooker Tom Youngs is serving a one-week ban.

Looking to the match Cockerill said: “This is the start of a key part of the season with clubs affected by having players away for the internationals. We’ve done pretty well in managing the squad to this point and the next eight weeks during the Six Nations will be very important in the format of the season.”

Gloucester Rugby were the only side to conclude the pool phase of the European Challenge Cup winning all six games.

The Cherry & Whites have won their last six fixtures at Kingsholm since Saracens beat them there 17-15 in round 2 of Aviva Premiership Rugby.

Leicester Tigers only defeat in the last five rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby came on a visit to Saracens on 2 January.

Tigers have lost their last two away games in all tournaments but have not lost three in a row on the road since October 2014.

Gloucester’s only victory in their last five encounters with Tigers was 33-16 at Kingsholm in October 2014.

The Glouceste rstarting line-up to take on the Tigers features only seven of the side that took the field last weekend in Parma against Zebre.

Returning to the starting line-up are Charlie Sharples, Billy Twelvetrees and James Hook in the backs, with Twelvetrees captaining the side against his former club.

Meanwhile, returning to the pack are Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard, Tom Savage, Jeremy Thrush and Sione Kalamafoni.

After two wins in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, securing a home quarter-final, David Humphreys told the local media this week that Gloucester are coming into Saturday’s game in good physical shape having rotated the squad. However, he and the squad are prepared for a tough encounter against the Tigers.

“It’s going to be a huge test for us. The last couple of weeks have almost been preparation for this, we’ve given some players some rest and some others some game time.

“So, we’re in good shape going into what is going to be an incredibly tough run of games over the course of the next ten weeks, although we haven’t been able to look much behind Leicester this weekend.

“They’re a team who have been going well, they were obviously successful last year, finishing top four, and have added new attacking threat to their game with some new coaches and players.

“We’ve played fifteen games this season, we’ve only lost four times. So, we’re in a good place statistically. What we’ve got to do is bring a consistency to our performance.

“It’s going to be a challenge but, with the work that’s been done and not being affected too much by Six Nations, we’re in good shape going into that run of games.”

Match : Gloucester Rugby v Leicester Tigers
Date : Saturday 30 January
Venue : Kingsholm,
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee :JP Doyle (104th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell & Nigel Carrick.
TMO: Graham Hughes.



Steve McColl; Charlie Sharples, Billy Meakes, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), David Halaifonua; James Hook, Willi Heinz; Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard, Paul Doran-Jones; Tom Savage, Jeremy Thrush; Sione Kalamafoni, Jacob Rowan, Ben Morgan

Replacements: Darren Dawidiuk, Nick Wood, Nicky Thomas, Mariano Galarza, Matt Kvesic, Greig Laidlaw, Billy Burns, Mark Atkinson

15 Tommy Bell , 14 Peter Betham , 13 Mathew Tait (c) , 12 Matt Smith , 11 Telusa Veainu , 10 Freddie Burns , 9 Sam Harrison , 1 Marcos Ayerza , 2 Greg Bateman , 3 Fraser Balmain , 4 Dom Barrow , 5 Graham Kitchener , 6 Mike Fitzgerald , 7 Tom Croft , 8 Lachlan McCaffrey

Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker , 17 Riccardo Brugnara , 18 Logovi’i Mulipola , 19 Sebastian de Chaves , 20 Jordan Crane , 21 Jono Kitto , 22 Gonzalo Camacho , 23 Jack Roberts

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