It’s felt like a long two weeks without any rugby for Tigers following their defeat to Leinster. The quarter-final knockout meant Leicester had a free weekend last week heading into their game with Newcastle this Saturday. Following a busy schedule, a week off was long overdue—though, we’d all prefer to have had a European semi-final last week!
So, it’s up to Newcastle for Tigers’ penultimate league game of the season. A home semi-final in the playoffs is already secure, but team selection indicates Steve Borthwick is keen to finish the league in top spot.
Other than the absences of Julián Montoya and Ben Youngs, this week’s side has the feel of a first-choice team. You get the sense Steve Borthwick won’t change too much—injuries aside—from this mix of players for the run in to the playoffs. Tigers fans will be pleased to see Cameron Henderson make a welcome return to the bench though after missing the entire season to-date with injury.
Richard Wigglesworth starts in the number 9 jersey, with Jack van Poortvliet on the bench. Chris Ashton starts again on the right wing, with Nemani Nadoli on the left. There’s still no sign of a return from injury of Dan Kelly though, with Matías Moroni and Guy Porter filling the centre births.
After a bench role last time out, it’s good to see George Martin getting a start, pushing Tommy Refell into a bench role this week.
Newcastle have nothing to play for, but it’s their last game of the season and their last game with Dean Richards as director of rugby. You suspect they won’t be inclined to give Tigers an easy game. If Leicester play to their strengths, gain dominance up front, you would anticipate they will have enough to come away with a win.
📺 Kick off is 3pm on Saturday 21 May. The game isn’t on BT Sport but passes can be bought on PRTV to watch it live.
💬 Head coach Steve Borthwick had this to say ahead of the game:
It is a big week for the Falcons with Dean Richards’ final game in charge in Newcastle and, after all he has given and done for the club, his players will be giving their all for him on Saturday afternoon. Newcastle are a team with a powerful scrum and maul, with a dynamic pack. They then have real pace in the backline, which means they can score tries in many different ways, posing a variety of threats. It's a really exciting challenge for us and one we are really looking forward to
Here are the official line-ups.
🏉 LEICESTER TIGERS
Forwards: 1) Ellis Genge © 2) Nic Dolly 3) Dan Cole 4) Ollie Chessum 5) Harry Wells 6) George Martin 7) Hanro Liebenberg 8) Jasper Wiese
Backs: 9) Richard Wigglesworth 10) George Ford 11) Nemani Nadolo 12) Guy Porter 13) Matías Moroni 14) Chris Ashton 15) Freddie Steward
Replacements: 16) Charlie Clare 17) Nephi Leatigaga 18) Joe Heyes 19) Cameron Henderson 20) Tommy Reffell 21) Jack van Poortvliet 22) Freddie Burns 23) Matt Scott
🏉 NEWCASTLE FALCONS
Forwards: 1) Adam Brocklebank 2) George McGuigan 3) Trevor Davison 4) Greg Peterson 5) Philip van der Walt 6) Gary Graham 7) Josh Basham 8) Callum Chick ©
Backs: 9) Michael Young 10) Joel Hodgson 11) Mateo Carreras 12) Luther Burrell 13) Matias Orlando 14) Adam Radwan 15) Alex Tait
Replacements: 16) Jamie Blamire 17) Logovi'i Mulipola 18) Mark Tampin 19) Freddie Lockwood 20) Carl Fearns 21) Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti 22) Will Haydon-Wood 23) Iwan Stephens
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe
Assistant Referees: Joe James & Wayne Falla TMO: Hamish Smales
Citing Officer: Danae Zamboulis
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