Leicester Tigers name all-international backline for Force

Leicester Tigers will include 12 senior internationals in the starting XV to face Australian visitors Western Force at Welford Road on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

After previous trips to Biarritz and the Ospreys under new head coach Heyneke Meyer, Saturday sees Tigers come home for their final run-out before the Guinness Premiership season starts away to Gloucester on Sunday, September 7.

An all-international backline includes a first appearance at Welford Road in a Tigers shirt for fly-half Toby Flood, while Geordan Murphy is at full-back, Alesana Tuilagi and Tom Varndell on the wings, Aaron Mauger is joined at centre by Dan Hipkiss, and Harry Ellis is at scrum-half. In the forwards, George Chuter makes his first start of the pre-season programme, with Marco Wentzel joining Richard Blaze in the second row.

“We have learned a lot from the two games so far, they have been tough games against quality opposition and, although I have been impressed by aspects of each performance, we are still looking to improve,” said Meyer.

“Now we’re looking forward to the game against Western Force and to playing a home fixture before the start of the Guinness Premiership season.”

Emirates Western Force coach John Mitchell is looking to end a tour of England on a high note in their fourth game against Guinness Premiership opposition.

The Western Force pack features skipper David Pocock and highly-rated loosehead prop Pek Cowan, while Filipe Manu is recalled at No8. In the backline, talented teenager James O’Connor switches to full-back as Scott Daruda returns to the No10 shirt and dynamic Junior Pelesasa and Josh Tatupu are reinstated in the midfield.

Tickets for the game are on general sale now, with discounted prices available to Tigers season ticket holders and members until 5pm on Friday. Contact the Tigers ticket office on 08701 28 34 30 or call in at Welford Road.

Leicester Tigers
15 Geordan Murphy
14 Alesana Tuilagi
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Aaron Mauger
11 Tom Varndell
10 Toby Flood
9 Harry Ellis
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Julian White
4 Richard Blaze
5 Marco Wentzel
6 Tom Croft
7 Ben Herring
8 Jordan Crane

Replacements (from): Benjamin Kayser, Dan Cole, Boris Stankovich, Martin Corry, Ben Kay, Ben Woods, Julien Dupuy, Sam Vesty, Tom Youngs, Matt Smith, Will Hurrell, Johne Murphy


Emirates Western Force: 15 James O’Connor, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Josh Tatupu, 12 Junior Pelesasa, 11 Haig Sare, 10 Scott Daruda, 9 Chris O’Young; 1 Pek Cowan, 2 Luke Holmes, 3 Keiran Longbottom, 4 Brent Murphy, 5 Pat O’Connor, 6 Matt Hodgson, 7 David Pocock (c), 8 Filipe Manu.
Replacements: 16 Tai McIsaac, 17 AJ Whalley, 18 Gareth Hardy, 19 Tom Murday, 20 Justin Turner, 21 Dion Berryman, 22 Andrew Barrett


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