Friday, 18 April 2014

Awesome Foursome Line Up For Quins Test

Champions Leicester Tigers travel to Harlequins knowing that a win will secure themselves a place in the play offs for the 10th straight year.  A win will also put Tigers above Northampton and into position for a home semi final, for 48 hours at least.

Despite recording a maximum 5 points in the win against Wasps Richard Cockerill makes 5 changes to his starting XV.  The entire front row swaps over as Marcos Ayerza and Logo Mulipola start at prop with Stankovich and Balmain going onto the bench.  Neil Briggs makes his first start in 3 months as he is preferred to Rob Hawkins as hooker.  Tom Youngs is rested in line with EPS requirements.

In the backs former captain Toby Flood is reunited with Ben Youngs, Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi.  The awesome foursome have not played together in almost a year, the last time the quartet all started was against Northampton in last year's victorious play off final against Northampton.  Domestically they have lost only 1 of their 15 games together.

Owen Williams is unlucky to miss out but Cockerill has commented that after 6 straight starts he feels the young player needs to rest and mentally recuperate from some tough atmospheres.

Harlequins have become a bogey side for Tigers.  Quins failed to beat Tigers in 14 straight games from 2003 to 2010; but in the last 6 games the Londoners have won 5.  Tigers sole win was last year's Play Off Semi Final at Welford Road. 

The league meeting earlier this season was scarred with controversy; Julian Salvi received his only ever yellow card for the club on Tigers 2nd penalty of the match and Quins scored two tries, including one ruled fair on the controversial "momentum" interpretation of a forward pass, during those 10 minutes.  The referee that day was Tim Wigglesworth and fresh from his contentious refereeing of the fierce Gloucester-Bath derby the RFU have once again turned a deaf ear to controversy.  

Harlequins tactics of deliberately holding defenders down off the ball was highlighted by BT Sport this week, hopefully Wigglesworth was watching as without a keen eyed referee teams are helpless against the cynicism of the Harlequins machine. 

Harlequins name an unchanged side from the one which secured their own bonus point win away to Sale.  Full Back Mike Brown has been gaining rave reviews for his England performances whilst Nick Evans looked back to his best against the Sharks. 

15 Mat Tait
14 Blaine Scully
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Neil Briggs
3 Logovi'i Mulipola
4 Ed Slater (c)
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Geoff Parling
20 Pablo Matera
21 David Mele
22 Owen Williams
23 Niall Morris

15 Mike Brown
14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague
13 Tim Molenaar
12 Jordan Turner-Hall
11 Sam Smith
10 Nick Evans
9 Danny Care
1 Joe Marler
2 Dave Ward
3 Kyle Sinckler
4 Charlie Matthews
5 George Robson
6 Luke Wallace
7 Chris Robshaw (C)
8 Nick Easter

16 Rob Buchanan
17 Mark Lambert
18 Paul Doran Jones
19 Tom Guest
20 Maurie Fa'asavalu
21 Karl Dickson
22 Ben Botica
23 Ross Chisholm

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Touch Judges: Andy Watson & Roy Maybank TMO: Sean Davey

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