BORTHWICK TURNS TO ENGLAND STARS IN BID TO AVOID FIFTH PREMIERSHIP DEFEAT IN SIX GAMES
ALL four of Leicester Tigers’ current England internationals are in the starting line-up to tackle Harlequins at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this afternoon (3.30pm).
Head coach Steve Borthwick has rotated George Ford and Ellis Genge back into the side to join Ben Youngs and George Martin, who both featured in the defeat to Sale Sharks last time out.
Tom Youngs returns to captain the side at hooker in a front row that contains Dan Cole while Harry Wells, who missed out for the first time this season at the AJ Bell Stadium, packs down at second row with Calum Green.
In their bid to avoid a fifth defeat in six Gallagher Premiership games, Tigers have recalled Springboks hopeful Jasper Wiese to their starting line-up while Tommy Reffell makes a welcome return from injury at openside flanker.
South Africans Hanro Liebenberg and Cyle Brink provide the second and back row cover from the bench.
Dan Kelly and Matt Scott are partnered together in midfield with Nemani Nadolo, Guy Porter and Freddie Steward in the back three.
Charlie Clare, Luan de Bruin, Joe Heyes, Richard Wigglesworth, Zack Henry and Kini
Speaking about the matchday squad, Borthwick, pictured, said: “We are working towards the best 80 minutes possible in each and every position – whether a player is starting the game or coming on to the field and finishing the game, we want to put together the best 80 minutes we can.”
Previewing the Harlequins game, he added: “They’re a very good side, in very good form and come to Mattioli Woods Welford Road on the back of some recent big wins in the Premiership.
“The bedrock of their game is a very strong kicking game, directed well by Danny Care and Marcus Smith, which gets them into those positions to attack.
“They have a squad filled with experience and world-class players, who have played a lot of rugby together for their club.
“We are looking forward to coming up against a team of that quality as we are always eager to test ourselves against the best teams in the league.”
Harlequins make two changes complete the to the starting line-up that claimed a dramatic late win over Wasps at The Stoop last weekend.
Wing Nathan Earle returns to start on the left wing, replacing the injured Cadan Murley, while James Lang is also restored to the starting XV at inside centre.
A backline re-jig sees Luke Northmore switch from the 12 to the 13 jersey, with Joe Marchant starting on the right wing and Tyrone Green at full-back.
Back row James Chisholm returns from injury for the first time since March to take a place among the replacements, while England Sevens man W i l l Edwards and Australian international Ben
Lang and the injured Paul
Lasike on the bench.
Harlequins will be looking for their fifth consecutive win against the Tigers.
General manager Billy Millard said: “Leicester are a team that have probably returned to their old school principles of late under Steve Borthwick.
“They are a well-organised team with a good set-piece and kicking game, so we’re well versed with the challenge we’ll face.
“We’ve had a couple of changes to our team over the last month or two, but we’ve been really pleased with the level of performances we’ve seen from the players, which is a credit to the depth of our squad and the quality of the mindset the players have at the moment.
“We’re looking forward to taking each week game by game as we build towards a big
finish to the season.”
15 Freddie Steward, 14 Guy Porter,
13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Nemani Nadolo,
10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 6 George Martin, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Jasper Wiese.
Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Kini Murimurivalu.
Harlequins: 15 Tyrone Green,
14 Joe Marchant, 13 Luke Northmore, 12 James Lang, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Wilco Louw, 4 Matt Symons, 5 Stephan Lewies (c), 6 Tom Lawday, 7 Jack Kenningham, 8 Alex Dombrandt.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Will Collier, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Ben Tapuai.