Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints Premiership Preview

Leicester Tigers host Northampton Saints at Welford Road

Leicester Tigers have named their side to play Northampton Saints in the Aviva Premiership at Welford Road with Owen Williams and front-rowers Tom Youngs and Dan Cole all returning to the side.

Williams returns at fly-half for his first start since the away win over Munster in Europe during December, while international duo Cole and Youngs, who also captains the side, come into the front row alongside Marcos Ayerza.

Peter Betham and Matt Smith return to the backline after missing the defeat at Saracens last weekend and Adam Thompstone also returns to the starting line-up.

With club captain Ed Slater ruled out by a knee ligament injury, Mike Fitzgerald joins Brendon O’Connor and Lachlan McCaffrey in the back row, with Sebastian de Chaves coming into the team at lock.

Saturday’s game will host Welford Road’s biggest-ever league crowd as stadium capacity is increased to 25,849 with the full opening of the new Caterpillar Stand at the Aylestone Road end.

Leicester Tigers’ seven game winning run in all tournaments ended with their defeat at Saracens in Aviva Premiership Rugby on Saturday.

The Tigers have won their last 11 home games in Premiership Rugby since drawing 21-all with Saracens at Welford Road in November 2014.

Northampton Saints three game winless run ended with their 8-3 victory at home to Exeter on New Year’s Day.

The Saints only two victories in their last nine away games in Aviva Premiership Rugby have both been on visits to Bath, in February and December 2015.

Each club won its respective home game when the two East Midlands rivals clashed in Premiership Rugby last season whilst Northampton have not been victorious at Welford Road in any competition since a 10-9 win in Premiership Rugby in February 2007.

Northampton Saints have made a pair of change to the team that beat Exeter both come in the backs, where Jamie Elliott starts on the right wing and Lee Dickson captains the side from scrum-half.

Two Toms, Wood and Kessell, come into the match day 23 among the replacements.

The Bookies have given Northampton Saints a 5 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to £200 in Bonus bets.

Match : Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
Date : Saturday 9 January
Venue : Welford Road,
Kick Off : 3.15pm
Live on: BT Sport
Match Officials
Referee :Wayne Barnes (161st Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Tim Wigglesworth & Peter Allan.
TMO: Sean Davey.

Teams

Leicester Tigers

15 Telusa Veainu, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Mathew Tait, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Sebastian de Chaves, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs (c),1 Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Vereniki Goneva

Northampton Saints

15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George North, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Tom Collins, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 Lee Dickson (capt), 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Teimana Harrison, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller

Replacements : 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Christian Day, 20 Tom Wood, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Harry Mallinder

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