Leicester Tigers v Saracens - Aviva Premiership match preview

Last Updated: 23/02/13 7:35pm

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Leicester make six changes for Saturday night's heavyweight Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens at Welford Road.

Coach Richard Cockerill's hand is forced by international call-ups and injuries as the Tigers try to bounce back from last week's defeat at Harlequins.

Victory would see them leapfrog Sarries into second place and with Toby Flood away with England, Cockerill hands the reins at No 10 to George Ford.

Manu Tuilagi will also be at Twickenham so Matt Smith lines up at outside centre alongside Dan Bowden, in for Anthony Allen who suffered a knock last week.

Geordan Murphy is restored to the No 15 shirt in place of Mat Tait and he will skipper the team.

Up front Tom Croft is restored to the blindside in place of Brett Deacon and Ed Slater takes over from Louis Deacon at lock.

Saracens, who beat Exeter 31-11 in their first match at Allianz Park last week, make five changes.

Chris Wyles returns at full-back in place of Ben Ransom, and Richard Wigglesworth takes over at scrum-half from Neil de Kock.

In the pack Rhys Gill and Schalk Brits return to the front row in place of Mako Vunipola and John Smit respectively, and Alistair Hargreaves - in for Mouritz Botha - partners Steve Borthwick in the second row.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Matt Smith, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 George Ford, 9 Sam Harrison, 1 Marcos Ayerza, 2 Rob Hawkins, 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Graham Kitchener, 6 Tom Croft, 7 Julian Salvi, 8 Jordan Crane.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Micky Young, 22 Matt Cornwell, 23 Mathew Tait

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Adam Powell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Steve Borthwick, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 6 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Ernst Joubert.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Duncan Taylor

What they said...

Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill

"We weren't far away at Quins last week, we defended very well and scored two good tries, and this is another important game against another good side who are just above us in the table."

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