Friday, 25 January 2013

Strong Tigers side aims to swat Wasps away

Tigers name a strong, though obviously much changed, side for Saturday's LV Cup encounter with Wasps.  Tom Croft continues his rehabilitation from a broken a neck with his first start at Welford Road since the 30th of March against Worcester; Vereniki Goneva also comes back from his knee injury sustained facing Treviso at Welford Road on the 9th of December.  

Dan Bowden makes his first start in the fly half shirt swapping roles from Extras duty with Matt Cornwell who wears 12 for Tigers for the first time since 2008.  Bowden will be looking to impress and steal the reserve 10 slot away from the departing George Ford.  Also auditioning in a different position is Logovi'i Mulipola who moves over to the tighthead side of the scrum, tuning up for the Six Nations period where he will cover Dan Cole and Martin Castrogiovanni and possibly for the whole of next season.

Brett Deacon captains the side from number 8, whilst England Saxons call ups to Graham Kitchener and Ed Slater, a full England call up for Geoff Parling, a rest for Louis Deacon and an injury to Joe Cain mean 6'9" Stratford native Tom Price makes his Tigers debut.  He is joined in the second row by South African Rob Andrew.

The replacements bench is full of exciting young players with Jonny Harris and Fraser Balmain impressing in league action against the Wasps in November plus Price's England U-20s team mate Harry Wells and Irish back rower Michael Noone also looking to back up impressive A team performances in the first team. 

Tigers go into this game bottom of their pool but only 1 point from top, so the knock out stages really are a possibility.  Other games that affect our pool this weekend are Saracens v Cardiff Blues, the first game at the new Copthall Stadium, Sale v Llanelli Scarlets and London Irish v Worcester.  Such are the vagaries of this competition a losing bonus point could see us go top or a bonus point victory could leave us rooted to the bottom.

Tomorrow's referee will be old favourite David Rose, his first game at Welford Road since we lost to Harlequins during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.  Overall this will be his 15th Tigers game, his 7th at Welford Road and his 14th Wasps game.  He does have experience of this fixture previously refereeing our 19-13 victory at Adams Park in November 2006, you might recall this game actually cost us top spot that year as we hadn't registered Ian Humphreys return from a loan at Leeds properly and were deducted a point.  Looking back at those starting teams 6 years ago only Louis Deacon and Jordan Crane remain for us whilst only James Haskell remains for them.

15 Mathew Tait
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Andy Forsyth
12 Matt Cornwell
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Dan Bowden
9 Sam Harrison
1 Boris Stankovich
2 Rob Hawkins
3 Logovi'i Mulipola
4 Rob Andrew
5 Tom Price
6 Tom Croft
7 Richard Thorpe
8 Brett Deacon (c)

16 George Chuter
17 Jonny Harris
17 Fraser Balmain
19 Harry Wells
20 Michael Noone
21 Micky Young
22 Andy Symons
23 Adam Thompstone

Wasps hand former Tigers academy player and local boy Matt Everard a chance to shine against his erstwhile employers, Lutterworth native Everard played 3 times for the Tigers before Cockerill deemed him surplus to requirements.  Wasps also hand debuts to Charlie Hayter who signed this week from Moseley and Stuart Commins who played for Oxford University in this year's Varsity Match.  They are captained by Old Etonian Sam Jones, as you can see Wasps doing their bit to rid Rugby of its reputation for being a posh boys sport.  Tommy Bell starts at 10 whilst his elder brother Chris is named on the replacements bench.

15 Jack Wallace
14 Tom Howe
13 Chris Mayor
12 Charlie Hayter
11 Jonah Holmes
10 Tommy Bell
9 Stuart Commins
8 Sam Jones (capt)
7 Matt Everard
6 Tinus Du Plessis
5 Will Rowlands
4 James Cannon
3 Will Taylor
2 Nathan Morris
1 Tim Payne.

16 T Rhys Thomas
17 Simon McIntyre
18 Harry Williams
19 Dave Hughes
20 James Harris
21 Will Robinson
22 Chris Bell
23 Hugo Southwell.


  1. Think you have confused Sam Jones with Gus Jones in the Wasps Academy.

  2. Sam Jones is a top player in the making, definitely not ex-Eton snotboy