Thursday, 10 October 2013

Tigers name team for Titanic Task

Tigers start their European voyage tomorrow night when they travel to a re-developed Ravenhill to face Ulster.  Tigers fans will need no reminding of the humiliating reverses suffered in the previous two visits to the Northern Irish fortress. 

Tigers make 3 changes to the side that could only draw with Northampton.  Anthony Allen and Blaine Scully are ruled out through injury whilst Geoff Parling has recovered from the rib injury that made him sit out the derby draw.

That means a dream debut for winger Miles Benjamin, 13 months on from the broken neck he suffered in an A League game.  While vastly experienced with Worcester the Birmingham native has never played a Heineken Cup game; his most recent first team start of any kind was against Northampton for Worcester back on May 5th 2012, 17 months ago.

The other change to the backline sees Dan Bowden come into the centres for Anthony Allen.  Bowden was particularly impressive coming off the bench last week, playing a key part of the late late comeback.  Bowden offers more kicking, a wider range of passes and a greater attacking spirit but is less solid defensively and there are question marks over whether he can make the team tick in the same way as Allen.  So often described as the glue in the Tigers midfield will Allen's absence mean we come unstuck or will it unclog the midfield channels?

In the second row Graham Kitchener moves to the bench as British Lion Geoff Parling takes his starting place alongside Louis Deacon.

On the bench Terrence Hepetema is in line for his debut should he come on.  Hepetema is a New Zealand utility back who has spent time with Randwick and the Waratahs in Australia.

Ulster also make 3 changes from their most recent match, an 18-12 victory away to the Ospreys.  Former Northampton player Roger Wilson takes over from Robbie Diack in the backrow whilst Jared Payne and Tommy Bowe start in the back three.

Ulster finished last season top of the table in the Pro 12 before losing out to Leinster in the final and won their Heineken Cup group before losing to Saracens in the Quarter Finals.

Both sides are without their Rugby Championship stars as Ruan Pienaar is only named on the bench for Ulster whilst Tigers trio of Ayerza, Camacho and Matera are missing for personal reasons, injury and being unregistered respectively.  Ayerza is in Argentina with his wife awaiting the birth of their first child, I'm sure we all wish her good luck and to get on with it!

Ulster main missing man is John Afoa.  The New Zealand tighthead is out with a calf injury which will delight Tigers fans as he was a key player in their our last demolition at Ravenhill.

Leicester Tigers
15 Niall Morris
14 Miles Benjamin
13 Vereniki Goneva
12 Dan Bowden
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Toby Flood (c)
9 Ben Youngs
1 Logovi'i Mulipola
2 Tom Youngs
3 Dan Cole
4 Louis Deacon
5 Geoff Parling
6 Ed Slater
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Neil Briggs
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 David Mele
22 Owen Williams
23 Terrence Hepetema

15 Jared Payne
14 Andrew Trimble
13 Darren Cave
12 Luke Marshall
11 Tommy Bowe
10 Paddy Jackson
9 Paul Marshall
1 Tom Court
2 Rory Best
3 Declan Fitzpatrick
4 Johann Muller (c)
5 Dan Tuohy
6 Roger Wilson
7 Chris Henry
8 Nick Williams

16 Rob Herring
17 Callum Black
18 Ricky Lutton
19 Iain Henderson
20 Robbie Diack
21 Ruan Pienaar
22 Stuart Olding
23 Michael Allen

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