Friday, 11 April 2014

Tigers Change 4 Wasps

Tigers are set to welcome their 5th 24,000 sell out crowd of the season as Wasps are the visitors at the revolutionary kick off time of 3:00PM Saturday.  

Richard Cockerill makes 4 changes from the side that started last week's Heineken Cup Quarter Final.  Manu Tuilagi will start his first match at 12 since 2011 as Matt Smith comes in at 13 for Anthony Allen.  In the pack Boris Stankovich & Fraser Balmain replace Marcos Ayerza & Logovi'i Mulipola at prop with Graham Kitchener replacing Louis Deacon at lock.

This fixture has gone with the home side in each of the last 5 seasons with Tigers triumphing 35-16 in last season match at Welford Road.  Earlier this year however Tigers struggled to a 22-12 defeat at Adams Park, on what was Owen Williams' Premiership debut.

Lions international lock Geoff Parling makes his long awaited return to fitness and is named on the bench.  Parling has not been seen in a Tigers shirt since the visit of Treviso in the middle of October after injuring his shoulder on England duty.  Also returning on the bench is Irish winger Niall Morris who has been out since January.

In the front row Tom Youngs makes his 50th start for the club and young prop Fraser Balmain will start for the 10th time.  In the backline Owen Williams earns his club tie for his 20th appearance; Manu Tuilagi makes his 60th start for the club.  Tuilagi has started 4 of those games at 12 winning 3 and only losing one; scoring 2 tries and famously setting up Lucas Amorosino's winner against South Africa in 2009.

Wasps make a slew of changes after their Amlin Challenge Cup Quarter Final win against Gloucester.  Only 6 players retain their shirts from Sunday night's game; wingers James Short and Will Helu, captain Chris Bell, Tigers legend Andy Goode, prop Matt Mullan and number 8 Nathan Hughes. 

In the front row Tom Lindsay and Phil Swainston join Mullan in a powerful trio.  In the engine room Gloucester bound Tom Palmer joins ex-Saint James Cannon, with Ed Jackson and Guy Thompson in the back row.  England international Joe Launchbury is named on the bench.

Captain Chris Bell is joined in the starting line up by brother Tommy Bell at full back.  Charlie Hayter who joined last season from Moseley opposes Tuilagi at 12.  At scrum half Wasps select Charlie Davies, originally from Nottingham and previously a member of Tigers wider academy, alongside Andy Goode veteran of 10 years and 8 trophies at Welford Road.

Saturday's referee is Andrew Small.  Small, originally from New Zealand, has referred Tigers 21 times in 8 seasons overseeing 13 wins and 8 losses.  He has refereed Tigers versus Wasps 3 times, with the home side winning on each occasion, including the reverse fixture in October this year.

15 Mat Tait
14 Vereniki Goneva
13 Matt Smith
12 Manu Tuilagi
11 Blaine Scully
10 Owen Williams
9 Ben Youngs
1 Boris Stankovich
2 Tom Youngs
3 Fraser Balmain
4 Ed Slater (c)
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Marcos Ayerza
18 Logovi'i Mulipola
19 Geoff Parling
20 Pablo Matera
21 David Mele
22 Toby Flood
23 Niall Morris

15 Tommy Bell
14 James Short
13 Chris Bell (c)
12 Charlie Hayter
11 Will Helu
10 Andy Goode
9 Charlie Davies
1 Matt Mullan
2 Tom Lindsay
3 Phil Swainston
4 James Cannon
5 Tom Palmer
6 Ed Jackson
7 Guy Thompson
8 Nathan Hughes
16 Carlo Festuccia
17 Simon McIntyre
18 Ricky Reeves
19 Joe Launchbury
20 Sam Jones
21 Brett Sheehan
22 Joe Carlisle
23 Elliot Daly

Referee: Andrew Small 
Touch Judges: Ross Campbell & Kelvin Stewart. 
TMO: David Grashoff.

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