Leicester v Bath: Team news
By Lee Walker
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Olly Barkley will start for Bath in their crucial clash with Leicester Tigers.
Leicester Tigers v Bath
Heineken Cup, Walkers Stadium, Saturday April 1, KO: 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports 2
Olly Barkley will start for Bath as they look to gain revenge against Leicester Tigers at the Walkers Stadium.
Last week's defeat at the Rec will still be in the minds of the Bath players as they prepare for Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final, and head coach Brian Ashton has pinned his hopes on the long-awaited return of Barkley.
The England man has not played since January due to a dislocated thumb, an injury that ruled him out of the entire Six Nations.
However, he is back in the starting line-up for arguably Bath's biggest game of the season, and he will partner Alex Crockett in the centres.
There is some bad news for the West Country club though, with Steve Borthwick and Matt Stevens sidelined by knee and shoulder injuries respectively.
James Hudson steps in alongside Danny Grewcock, while Taufa'ao Filise comes into a front row that features Lee Mears and Duncan Bell.
Elsewhere in the pack, Gareth Delve is preferred to Michael Lipman, while Zak Feaunati starts in the back row.
Nick Walshe and Chris Malone will operate behind the scrum, while David Bory, Andrew Higgins and Michael Stephenson form the back three.
Leicester have recalled George Chuter for Saturday's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Bath.
Chuter replaces James Buckland in the only change to the XV that won 19-12 against the same opponents at the Rec last weekend.
The hooker has completed a three-week ban, which was reduced from eight weeks on appeal, following a stamping incident during the Powergen Cup semi-final against Wasps.
Leicester will again be without England wing Tom Varndell who is on England sevens duty in Hong Kong this weekend.
Commenting on the loss of his wing starlet, head coach Pat Howard admitted: "I would love to have Tom available and put him in this arena, but Hong Kong is an interesting environment.
"Next year, we would say he has to come back, but it is okay this year.
"Tom is an outstanding finisher and, if you are going to get a chance to develop, it has to be when you are 20. You have to look at the bigger picture."
Leicester Tigers team: 15 S Vesty, 14 G Murphy, 13 L Lloyd, 12 O Smith, 11 D Hipkiss, 10 A Goode, 9 H Ellis, 1 G Rowntree, 2 G Chuter, 3 J White, 4 B Kay, 5 L Deacon, 6 S Jennings, 7 L Moody, 8 M Corry (capt).
Replacements: 16 J Buckland, 17 M Holford, 18 L Cullen, 19 L Abraham, 20 A Healey, 21 M Cornwell, 22 A Tuilagi.
Overall cup record: Played 66, won 47, drawn 1, lost 18.
This season: Clermont Auvergne (h) won 57-13, Stade Francais (a) lost 6-12, Ospreys (h) won 30-12, Ospreys (a) won 17-15, Stade Francais (h) won 29-22, Clermont Auvergne (a) won 40-27.
Top points: 87 - Andy Goode.
Top tries: 3 - Dan Hipkiss.
Bath team: 15 M Stephenson, 14 A Higgins, 13 A Crockett, 12 O Barkley, 11 D Bory, 10 C Malone, 9 N Walshe, 1 T Filise, 2 L Mears, 3 D Bell, 4 J Hudson, 5 D Grewcock, 6 A Beattie, 7 G Delve, 8 Z Feaunati
Replacements: P Dixon, D Flatman, P Short, M Lipman, A Williams, T Cheeseman, L Best
Cup best: Winners 1998.
Overall cup record: Played 45, won 33, drawn 0, lost 12.
This season: Leinster (a) won 22-19, Bourgoin (h) won 39-12, Glasgow (h) won 31-26, Glasgow (a) won 29-10, Bourgoin (a) won 22-9, Leinster (h) lost 23-35.
Top points: 69 - Olly Barkley.
Top tries: 3 - Michael Stephenson.