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Cockerill makes changes for Bath

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Ian Humphreys and Gavin Hickie make their return from injury as Leicester Tigers open the defence of their EDF Energy Cup crown at Bath on Saturday (2.15pm kick-off).

Fly-half Humphreys gains a starting slot, while hooker Hickie is named among the replacements after both announced their return to contention with a Development XV outing at Cambridge University last Monday evening.

England Saxons lock Richard Blaze gains his first start for the club after recovering from a groin injury and young prop Dan Cole makes his debut appearance in the senior ranks after injury to Boris Stankovich and Martin Castrogiovanni in the Guinness Premiership win over Worcester Warriors last weekend.

Marcos Ayerza is named among the replacements following his return from Argentina’s triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign which ended with a victory in the bronze-medal play-off.

Sam Vesty returns to the full-back slot, with Johne Murphy and Tom Varndell named on the wings, and Matt Cornwell combining with Ayoola Erinle in the centres. Humphreys will link up with Frank Murphy at half-back.

Mefin Davies captains the team from the front row, between young props Cole and Dave Young, while Marco Wentzel moves back in to the second row alongside Blaze. The back row features the all-English combination of Tom Croft, Luke Abraham and Jordan Crane.

Coach Richard Cockerill said: “We have a couple of guys coming back from injury and also we have some guys who need some game-time and an opportunity.

“Some of the guys we have not seen a lot of so far have a good opportunity on Saturday to show the coaches they are worthy of a start.

“We have put some fresh legs out there, some with a point to prove, but this is still a good team because we think our squad is good across the board.”

Leicester Tigers (vs Bath Rugby, away, Saturday 2.15pm)

15 Sam Vesty
14 Johne Murphy
13 Ayoola Erinle
12 Matt Cornwell
11 Tom Varndell
10 Ian Humphreys
9 Frank Murphy

1 Dan Cole
2 Mefin Davies (c)
3 Dave Young
4 Richard Blaze
5 Marco Wentzel
6 Tom Croft
7 Luke Abraham
8 Jordan Crane


16 Gavin Hickie
17 Marcos Ayerza
18 Alex Moreno
19 James Hamilton
20 Ben Herring
21 Tom Youngs
22 Ben Youngs