Friday, 20 September 2013

Deano and Wells: The Boys are Back in Town

Tigers welcome club legends Dean Richards and John Wells to Welford Road this Saturday as they bring newly promoted Newcastle to the Tiger’s lair.

Richards was the iconic figure at the club for his 16 year playing career where he captained Tigers to the 1995 Courage League Title playing 314 games.  Wells captained the side to the 1993 Pilkington Cup, ending the clubs longest trophy drought and played 367 times for the club.  They both retired in the 1997/98 season and together took the club into the modern era.

In their first full season in charge Deano and Wells lead the Tigers to only their 3rd ever league title before repeating the trick the next three years to tie Bath’s record of 4 Title in a row and 6 overall.  But Europe was the stage where they made the biggest impact.  Both started in the painful defeat to Brive in the 1997 European Cup Final and used that hurt to drive the club on to its most memorable moments.

Who can forget Paris?  Or Nottingham?  Or the glorious return to Cardiff?

Newcastle were re-named from the old Gosforth club in the early 1990’s and ironically their only victory at Welford Road under that name was Richards final ever game for the club in December 1997.  Richards was a late replacement for Martin Corry and played in the second row wearing “S”.  Newcastle completed the double over Tigers that year as John Hall’s revolution powered the Geordie’s to their only ever League Title. 

Since then Newcastle’s fortunes have waned somewhat culminating in relegation to the Championship in 2012, their first year outside the top tier since 1996/7.  The nadir at Welford Road was reached in an 83-10 thrashing in 2005 when Ollie Smith scored 2 tries before half time making a mockery of opposite number Mat Tait’s selection for England two weeks previously.  Others in the Newcastle side that day were Toby Flood at full back and Geoff Parling.  Odd to think that currently we have more players from the Newcastle side that day than the Tigers one.

Tigers have named a much changed side from the one that tasted defeat last weekend in Bath making 10 changes in personal plus two positional switches.

Headlining the changes is the return to fitness of Ben Youngs, Toby Flood and Manu Tuilagi in the back line.  All three start for the first time since last May's Premiership Final.

Tigers also hand debuts to Californian full back Blaine Scully, flanker Jamie Gibson and hooker Neil Briggs.  Notably this is the first game that Tom Youngs has been available for but not started since the Premiership final in 2012.

The pack sees Logovi'i Mulipola switch sides to tighthead and Boris "the finger" Stankovich move into the No.1 jersey as Marcos Ayerza is still away with Argentina.  Graham Kitchener replaces Sebastian de Chaves in the second row as he misses out on the match day squad altogether as Geoff Parling returns to the bench.

Saturday’s referee will be David Rose.  The Birmingham native celebrated his 50th birthday this summer with a new position working for Badminton England as a “Regional Delivery Manager”, whatever that is.  Rose has refereed the Tigers 15 times with Leicester winning 10 times, drawing once and losing 4 times.  His last Leicester game was the Anglo-Welsh encounter with Newcastle in February 2012 when Tigers were victorious 24-13. 
  Newcastle make a slew of changes from the side that was victorious away to Sale last Friday as Rory Clegg, Rob Vickers, Kieran Brookes and Carlo del Farva all return to the starting line up.  Watch out for summer singings Franck Montanella from London Welsh and Dom Barrow from Leeds in the pack.

Leicester Tigers
15 Blaine Scully
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi
12 Dan Bowden
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Toby Flood (c)
9 Ben Youngs
1 Boris Stankovich
2 Neil Briggs
3 Logovi'i Mulipola
4 Ed Slater
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Thomas Waldrom
7 Jamie Gibson
8 Jordan Crane

16 Tom Youngs
17 Tom Bristow
18 Dan Cole
19 Geoff Parling
20 Julian Salvi
21 David Mele
22 Owen Williams
23 Niall Morris

Newcastle Falcons:
15 Alex Tait
14 Noah Cato
13 Adam Powell
12 James Fitzpatrick
11 Tom Catterick
10 Rory Clegg
9 Warren Fury
1 Franck Montanella
2 Rob Vickers
3 Kieran Brookes
4 Carlo del Fava
5 Dominic Barrow
6 Mark Wilson
7 Will Welch (c)
8 Chris York
16 Matt Thompson
17 Gary Strain
18 Scott Wilson
19 Sean Tomes
20 Andy Saull
21 Chris Pilgrim
22 Joel Hodgson
23 Alex Crockett

Leicester Kit:

Newcastle Kit:

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