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Coach prepared to make some tough choices

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Head coach Richard Cockerill acknowledges he will have some difficult selection decisions to make as the injury situation improves at Welford Road.

Toby Flood made his first start of the season in last weekend’s win over Leeds Carnegie and Alesana Tuilagi made his first appearance since picking up a foot injury playing for Samoa in the summer.

Cockerill also expects to have Harry Ellis, Sam Vesty and Billy Twelvetrees back in contention soon.

“Harry, Sam and Billy will be involved in the Development game against Sale on Monday,” he said.

“We’ve got Toby back, Alesana is getting back, Lote Tuqiri is settling in with every game and we’re hoping to have a few more back from injury. All of the guys have done an excellent job for us this season but it is great to have options available throughout the squad as we enter such a busy and important period of the season.”

Club captain Geordan Murphy and prop Julian White are working their way back from injuries and Cockerill says he is pleased with their progress.

“Geordan has had the operation on his shoulder, it seems to have gone well and he is doing some training now, while Whitey’s torn hamstring is repairing well and he is doing his rehab,” he said.

“They are both making decent progress.”

Richard Blaze, however, has joined the long-term injured list after surgery on a foot injury.

The England Saxons lock was a regular in the Tigers squad in the opening two months of the season but he has not played since the trip to London Irish in October and missed out on a possible England debut when the foot injury flared up.

“Blazey worked really hard to get back from injury last season but his foot has been causing him a few problems,” said Cockerill.

“It’s a big blow because he worked very hard to get ready for this season and he was establishing himself in the squad again, as well as being called up into the England squad.”