Leicester Tigers v Gloucester - Aviva Premiership match preview
Last Updated: 29/12/12 4:09pm
Geoff Parling comes back into the Leicester side in the only change to the Tigers' line-up for their Aviva Premiership clash with Gloucester at Welford Road on Saturday.
Lock Parling was rested for last weekend's 31-9 win against London Irish but returns for the contest between the teams occupying the third and fourth places in the table.
Graham Kitchener drops out of the match-day squad but Steve Mafi could make his return from a knee injury after being named among the replacements.
Toby Flood will make his 100th appearance in the Premiership after again being selected at fly-half for the clash, which is live on Sky Sports 1HD from 4.30pm.
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies makes three changes for the trip after his side's narrow 18-16 victory against Exeter last time out.
Two of the switches come in the forwards, with Huia Edmonds replacing Darren Dawidiuk and Will James coming in for Tom Savage at hooker and lock respectively. Dawidiuk and Savage are named on the bench.
The only other alteration comes at full-back and sees Martyn Thomas replace Rob Cook, who has been suffering with illness over Christmas.
Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone,10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.
Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jim Hamilton (c), 4 Will James, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Molenaar, 23 Dave Lewis.
What they said...
Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies
"They are very comfortable playing at home. It's not the biggest pitch in the league, they play a style to suit that, they're comfortable with it and have the personnel to deliver it.
"They have a very effective kick chase game, which works well on that particular type of pitch, as Saracens do. So we have to deal with the aerial battle that we'll face, that will be one of the key areas to come out on top of.
"It's going to be physical, we know that, but we've been pretty physical ourselves this season."
Leicester fly-half Toby Flood
"Gloucester are really sniffing around the top four this year. They will be around there come the end of the season so it's important for us to not only win the game but also to make sure they don't get anything from it," Flood told the Tigers' official website.
"Being at home over the Christmas period and it being a full house will be fantastic for us. We did well to get five points against a good Irish side and we have got two more games during the Christmas period.
"If we can come out of those in a healthy position then it makes a big difference."
Aviva Premiership 12/13 Round 12
Saracens closed within a point of the Premiership lead thanks to a 17-16 win over Northampton Saints at stadium:mk.
Bath came from behind to snatch a dramatic 12-12 draw with west country rivals Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
Nick Evans kicked 16 points as Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins saw off London Irish 26-15 at Twickenham.