Harlequins v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership preview
Last Updated: 16/02/13 5:28pm
Toby Flood: One of three back for Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers have England trio Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Thomas Waldrom available for their top-of-the-table clash with Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership's big game on Saturday.
First-placed Leicester travel to the Stoop to face second-placed Quins with the two sides locked together on points at the top of the Premiership table.
Leicester's international trio have been released from the England squad for this weekend and are recalled by Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
There is also a recall in the back-line for Scott Hamilton, and Brett Deacon is named in the back row alongside Waldrom and Julian Salvi, while Martin Castrogiovanni, Niall Morris and Steve Mafi are among the players unavailable due to injury this week.
Tom Croft is rested and four players remain with the England squad - Tom Youngs, Ben Youngs, Geoff Parling and Dan Cole.
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has tweaked his starting XV, making two changes to the back-line that lost to Wasps last week due to injury and international unavailability.
Matt Hopper moves to outside centre and partners Jordan Turner-Hall who comes into the run-on side for George Lowe. Danny Care returns from international duty with England to start at scrum-half.
Among the forwards, captain Nick Easter starts in the second row, with Charlie Matthews ready to impact from the bench. In the back row Maurie Fa'asavalu starts at blindside flanker and is joined by Tom Guest and Luke Wallace.
Among the replacements, with Karl Dickson unfit for this weekend, Jordan Burns will look to make his first appearance for the club at scrum-half, while the fit again Ben Botica returns to the bench.
Leicester took top spot in the Premiership table for the first time since the end of the 2010/11 season with their 28-12 victory at home to London Welsh, and although Quins lost they have not suffered back-to-back defeats since early 2010.
Leicester have won on their last eight visits to the Stoop since the Londoners last triumph there, 26-23, in the semi-final 1st leg of the Wildcard in May 2003.
Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest. 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (c), 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon (c), 3 Logovi'i Mulipola, 2 Rob Hawkins, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Micky Young, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.
What they said
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill
"We've had some tough battles with Harlequins in the last couple of seasons. Results last week meant we went to the top of the table, but it means nothing at this stage.
"We still haven't played as well as we can and we're now into a key part of the season."
Sat 16th May
Bath50 - 30Gloucester
Exeter44 - 16Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers22 - 14Northampton
London Irish40 - 40Wasps
London Welsh17 - 68Saracens
Newcastle Falcons37 - 21Harlequins
Sat 23rd May - Semi Final
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Bath0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Aviva Premiership Round 15
Rugby director Steve Diamond remained upbeat on Aviva Premiership survival after Sale's 26-25 win over London Welsh.
Sale claimed a potentially vital victory in their battle against relegation, winning 26-25 at London Welsh.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted his side were lucky to come out on top in Sunday's clash with Gloucester.
- Wasps claim important win
- O'Shea: Care was world class
- Harlequins reclaim top spot
- West hails Northampton grit
- Sarries happy with new home
- Gold plays down Bath progress
- Saints revive play-off hopes
- Home comforts for Saracens
- Hot Bath make it six on bounce
- Worcester v Saints: Teams
- London Welsh v Sale: Teams
- Bath v L Irish: Teams
- Saracens v Exeter: Teams