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Fly-halves finally fit and well

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Fly-half duo Ian Humphreys and Paul Burke are back in the Leicester Tigers squad for this evening's Guinness Premiership match against Bristol Rugby at Welford Road (kick-off 7.45pm). Humphreys forced his way into first-team contention with a string of impressive displays in the Guinness A League earlier this season and scored 30 points in his first two Premiership starts, against London Irish and London Wasps, before injuring a hamstring in the EDF Energy Cup match at Northampton earlier this month.

Burke had been contesting the No.10 shirt with Andy Goode earlier in the season but he suffered a rib injury at Saracens last month.

Head coach Pat Howard gives Humphreys the nod this weekend, with Burke providing experienced back-up on the bench, and Goode rested as the squad face a period of three Premiership games in 11 days.

"Humphs was playing well before his injury and it is good to have him back," said Howard. "It is also great to welcome Paul Burke back into the frame after injury.

"We were a bit thin in terms of 10s for the Bourgoin games and I was relieved that Andy came through them safely, but now we have them all available again."

Howard also welcomes back Julian White into the front row after the wear and tear suffered during the autumn internationals, and Marcos Ayerza after his return from a short spell in Argentina.

 "It has taken Julian a while to come back, but we have tried to look after him because he is an important cog in the team," Howard said. "We also have to ensure that he is good for us all year long."

The back five forwards all started the Guinness Premiership win at Wasps during the autumn internationals and Howard will be looking to them for another impressive performance.

"The Wasps game was a good performance, probably up there with Sale at home on the first day of the season and Cardiff Blues away. But in terms of performance exceeding expectation, it was definitely a good day," said Howard. "You expect your big players to step up but I thought that some players that day not only put themselves on the map with us but also internationally."