Leicester Tigers and Gloucester Rugby each go into Saturday’s Anglo-Welsh Cup opener on the back of morale-boosting results on league duty last weekend.
Tigers made it five wins in a row in the Aviva Premiership with a 30-13 victory away to Newcastle Falcons last Saturday to move into third place in the league table after seven rounds ahead of the break for cup action, while Gloucester celebrated derby victory at Bath thanks to a late try from Ed Slater and conversion from former Tigers team-mate Owen Williams.
The clubs, who have already met at Welford Road this season on league duty, go head to head for the 220th time since their first encounter more than 125 years ago. Gloucester lead 106-105 in wins during that time, with eight draws.
Both teams have made significant changes to their squad for the start of the Anglo-Welsh Cup, with Tigers coach Geordan Murphy handing an opportunity for Joe Ford, Jonah Holmes and Adam Thompstone to gain gametime while also bringing in a number of development squad players to play in a competitive arena.
Gloucester include Tigers academy graduates Charlie Beckett, who captains the team, and Tom Hudson in their matchday squad.
“It is a big game, it’s at home, it’s Gloucester who have been in decent form and have already won away from home in the league and in Europe this season,” Tigers coach Murphy said. “So it’s for us to put on a performance to represent the Leicester shirt with pride and passion.
“There’s a few of the younger lads in there alongside some of those guys who’ve been around a while and a few coming back from injury.
“The Anglo-Welsh Cup is always competitive. Teams come with the right spirit, it’s a development competition and the opportunity for players to play and progress.”
Murphy, who led Tigers to final victory last season, will be assisted by Boris Stankovich, Brett Deacon and Anthony Allen from the sidelines as Matt O’Connor hands responsibility to the rest of the coaching team this week.
Thompstone, who made his first appearance of the season in the win at Newcastle last weekend after recovering from a neck injury, said: “It’s just great to be back and be with the team again. It’s frustrating when you’re not playing because you want to be out there. Now I just want to get some time on the pitch and go from there”
Referee for Saturday is Craig Evans of the Welsh Rugby Union.
Saturday’s match is included in Tigers season tickets. For all other supporters, tickets are on general sale now. Book in person at the club store in Highcross Shopping Centre in advance or at Welford Road on Saturday, or phone the ticket office on 0116 319 8888 (option 2). Or use the link below to book online.