Friday, 1 November 2013

Tigers name team for Quins

On bonfire night a 23,000 plus crowd will be sure to see fireworks as the last two year’s Champions face off.  With England supremo Stuart Lancaster having as much say in selection as coaches Conor O’Shea and Richard Cockerill it is not either sides first choice selection but that’s life in English Rugby at the moment.
The Dear Leader at Twickenham has denied us the services of Tom Youngs and Dan Cole in his first XV, plus Ben Youngs and Toby Flood who ride the pine.  From the Quins side he has taken captain Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown and Joe Marler but released Danny Care.  After releasing Christian Wade last week his selections are certainly not favouring his nation’s Champion club.

But enough of who is not here, we could be all day listing both sides double digit injury list, what who is playing?
Scott Hamilton is returned to the back three with USA winger Blaine Scully the one to miss out.  Matt Smith is however over looked so another kiwi Terrence Hepetema retains his jersey despite a shaky start to his Tigers career.  

Dan Bowden will make his 20th appearance for the club alongside Hepetema, whilst Morris, Thompstone, Williams and Mele retain their places.

In the pack Graham Kitchener is fit again to start in the engine room with Ed Slater switching back to 6.  Jordan Crane is preferred to Thomas Waldrom at 8.  Waldrom's scrum control has come under question this week but Crane's poor control lost the chance of winning against Saints so he is not perfect in this department.

New signing Pablo Matera misses out on the match day squad as Waldrom and the returning Steve Mafi are named on the bench.  It is thought that Matera never played a senior club match in Argentina, making last week his First XV debut for any club.

It will be interesting to see how that team goes, especially the back line.  I can't pretend that I am thrilled by Hamilton coming back into the side and Hepetema retaining his place instead of Scully and Smith but we shall see.

It is fantastic though to have Steve Mafi back, providing he is really fit this time.  Mafi can provide that X-Factor so sadly missing last week, and should allow Ed Slater to move back to his most effective position of lock.

Harlequins cover the absence of Mike Brown by moving star fly half Nick Evans to last man.  In his place Ben Botica, son of Frano, plays as the pivot at Fly half.  

Quins also give a debut to new signing Tim Molenaar in the centres.  The ex-Nottingham man moved from Gloucester this week due to the Quins’ injury crisis which has taken Jordan Turner-Hall, George Lowe and Tom Casson.

A local interest in the Londoner's side is winger Charlie Walker.  The Oadby Wyggs youth product was part of Tigers academy until an education related fall out prompted his move to the Capital.  

Harlequins will come to Welford Road with no fear.  Though they lost the Premiership Semi-Final in May they have won the last two regular season matches at Welford Road; Quins also boast the best league record of any visiting side to Welford Road with 7 wins in Leicester from 22 visits.  The key to beating Quins is scoring tries, 4 of those defeats came where the Londoners shut out the Tigers attack compared to only one of Tigers 15 victories.

The game’s referee will be Tim Wigglesworth from Hull.  The former Council Worker will take the whistle for his 17th Tigers game and his 11th at Welford Road.  For Cockerill’s first home game back from his latest ban a faintly ironic twist is that Wigglesworth was the man in the middle for the Newport LV Cup match back in 2009 that garnered Cockerill his previous ban.  I’m fairly sure the RFU do these things deliberately as they happen far too regularly to happen by chance.


15 Niall Morris
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Terrence Hepetema
12 Dan Bowden
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Owen Williams
9 David Mélé
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Neil Briggs
3 Logovi'i Mulipola
4 Louis Deacon (c)
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Ed Slater
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 George Chuter
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Steve Mafi
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 Sam Harrison
22 Matt Smith
23 Blaine Scully

15 Nick Evans
14 Charlie Walker
13 Matt Hopper
12 Tim Molenaar
11 Ugo Monye
10 Ben Botica
9 Danny Care

1 Mark Lambert
2 Dave Ward
3 Will Collier
4 Nick Easter (capt)
5 George Robson
6 Joe Trayfoot
7 Luke Wallace
8 Tom Guest
16 Harry Allen
17 Darryl Marfo
18 Nic Mayhew
19 Charlie Matthews
20 Jack Clifford
21 Karl Dickson
22 Tom Casson
23 Sam Smith

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Touch Judges: Greg Garner & Kevin Stewart
TV: BT Sport 1HD, KO: 5:30PM, Saturday November 2nd

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