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Croft makes comeback to Tigers squad

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International flanker Tom Croft returns to the Leicester Tigers squad for Saturday's home game against London Wasps at the new kick-off time of 3.15pm.

Croft has recovered from an injury suffered in the home win over Leeds Carnegie at the end of November and takes a place among the replacements this week.

Fellow international forwards Lewis Moody, Marcos Ayerza and Craig Newby return to the starting line-up as head coach Richard Cockerill makes a number of changes following victory over Guinness Premiership leaders Saracens a week ago.
Anthony Allen is ruled out by an ankle injury and his absence allows the return of former Wasps fly-half Jeremy Staunton in the Tigers backline.

“I was very pleased with the way we played at Saracens,” said Cockerill.

“The result was very important, but the way we played was impressive too. We controlled the ball, we stood up to a very good pack and our accuracy was much better. We have now had three good wins together and that brings confidence throughout the squad.

“Wasps are a good side and they’ve got a good record against us. They are also the team just behind us in the table so it is very important for us to keep our run going."

As well as Allen, Tigers are without Martin Castrogiovanni, Aaron Mauger, Geordan Murphy and Julian White due to injury.

Around 23,000 tickets have been sold in advance for the game, with remaining tickets available now from the Tigers ticket office. Phone the hotline on 0844 856 1880, book online at www.leicestertigers.com or call in at Welford Road.

Leicester Tigers v London Wasps (Welford Road, 3.15pm Saturday)
15 Scott Hamilton
14 Johne Murphy
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Jeremy Staunton
11 Lote Tuqiri
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Mefin Davies
3 Dan Cole
4 Louis Deacon (c)
5 Geoff Parling
6 Craig Newby
7 Lewis Moody
8 Jordan Crane

16 George Chuter
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Robbie Harris
19 Tom Croft
20 Brett Deacon
21 James Grindal
22 Sam Vesty
23 Alesana Tuilagi

London Wasps have made five changes to their starting line-up after defeat by Newcastle Falcons last weekend.

Tony Hanks brings in a new-look backline with Mark Van Gisbergen, Paul Sackey and Ben Jacobs back in the starting line-up and Danny Cipriani starting at fly-half. In the forwards, Ben Broster returns to the front row following recovery from a calf strain.

Former Tigers winger Tom Varndell is named among the replacements.

Hanks said: “Going up to Leicester is the kind of task that forces you to bounce back and refocus pretty quickly. Wasps-Leicester games always get the supporters revved up and the rivalry only adds to the intensity of the game."

London Wasps:
15 Mark Van Gisbergen
14 Paul Sackey
13 Ben Jacobs
12 Dominic Waldouck
11 David Lemi
10 Danny Cipriani
9 Mark Robinson
1 Tim Payne
2 Rob Webber
3 Ben Broster
4 Simon Shaw
5 George Skivington
6 John Hart (c)
7 Will Matthews
8 Dan Ward-Smith

16 Joe Ward
17 Sakaria Taulafo
18 Gabriel Bocca
19 Marty Veale
20 Dan Leo
21 James Honeyben
22 Dave Walder
23 Tom Varndell