Saturday, 13 April 2013

Logo slots in for Tigers

Tigers and Wasps return to domestic action after their European adventures last week.  Tigers of course were away to Toulon in the main event Heineken Cup on Sunday whilst Wasps hosted Leinster in the second tier Amlin on Friday night.  

Tigers make one enforced changed for the side that lost 21-15 in Toulon as Logovi'i Mulipola replaces the injured Marcos Ayerza at loosehead, Fraser Balmain moving onto the bench.  Cockerill was furious at the challenge from Bakkies Botha that resulted in Ayerza's broken collarbone but ERC, and myself it must be said, didn't see a red card challenge just a man going for the line.

Otherwise Tigers are unchanged from the side that defeated Northampton and Exeter in their last two league games as Dan Cole is preferred to the apparently departing Martin Castrogiovanni and Jordan Crane presides over the base of the scrum ahead of Thomas "the Tank" Waldrom as Crane makes his 150th appearance for the first team since his 2006 debut against Gloucester.

At hooker Tom Youngs makes his 50th appearance for the first team since his December 2006 debut at outside centre away to Northampton and Julian Salvi makes his 50th start in his second season at the club.

Wasps in contrast make 7 changes from their 48-28 demolition from Leinster.  5 changes come in the pack as Tom Lindsay, Will Taylor, James Cannon, son of Saints legend Vince, Jonathan Poff and Billy Vunipola replace T. Rhys Thomas, Phil Swainston, ex-Tiger Marco Wentzel, Sam Jones and England 6 Nations ace Joe Launchbury.  Launchbury and Italy centre Andrea Masi are apparently rested because of heavy work loads!  I don't think they'll be getting any sympathy from Tom Youngs or Geoff Parling on that front!

In the backs in-season-signing from Moseley Charlie Hayter takes Masi's place at 12 whilst former Nottingham and Stade Francais half back Charlie Davies takes over from Joe Simpson in the 9 jersey. 

Wasps are 7th one point behind Bath in 6th and one ahead of Exeter in 8th.  It seems to me they are resting players in anticipation of their 8 pointer at home to the Chiefs next week and hoping that Bath's tough run in (Quins Away, Tigers Home, Saracens Away) knackers their hopes.  That is a risky game should Bath overcome Quins today and Wasps lose at Welford Road as then Tigers and Sarries would be secure in their home semi finals before they play Bath.

On the play off front; after Gloucester's loss last night Tigers need one point to secure a play off place for the 9th year in a row and require 8 points from the remaining games in the season to secure an 8th Welford Raod semi if Quins achieve a perfect 15/15.  A Quins loss to any of Bath, Worcester or Northampton will see Tigers at home with a single victory.

Tomorrow's referee is London based Dubliner JP Doyle.  Tigers have a terrific record with Doyle in charge winning 10 of the 12 games he has blown although we did lose the most recent of those 12 when he was in charge of Saracen's most recent victory at Welford Road.

The game is live on Sky Sports 2, programme starts at 3.30 and the kick off is at 3.45.  This will be the last time Tigers play in the "bib" effect design as they will be wearing the new kit in the final game of the season at home to London Irish.
Leicester Tigers
15 Mathew Tait
14 Niall Morris
13 Manu Tuilagi
12 Anthony Allen
11 Adam Thompstone
10 Toby Flood (c)
9 Ben Youngs
1 Logovi'i Mulipola
2 Tom Youngs
3 Dan Cole
4 Ed Slater
5 Geoff Parling
6 Tom Croft
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Fraser Balmain
18 Martin Castrogiovanni
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Thomas Waldrom
21 Sam Harrison
22 George Ford
23 Matt Smith

London Wasps
15 Elliot Daly
14 Christian Wade
13 Chris Bell (c)
12 Charlie Hayter
11 Tom Varndell
10 Nick Robinson
9 Charlie Davies
1 Zak Taulafo
2 Tom Lindsay
3 Will Taylor
4 James Cannon
5 Tom Palmer
6 Ashley Johnson
7 Jonathan Poff
8 Billy Vunipola

16 Nathan Morris
17 Simon McIntyre
18 Lorenzo Romano
19 Alex Rae
20 Matt Everard
21 Joe Simpson
22 Tommy Bell
23 Jack Wallace

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