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Howard makes line-up changes

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Internationals Geordan Murphy, Daryl Gibson, Andy Goode, Julian White and James Hamilton all return to the Leicester Tigers starting line-up for the Guinness Premiership match against visitors NEC Harlequins on Saturday (kick-off 5.15pm).

England quartet George Chuter, Louis Deacon, Martin Corry and Harry Ellis have been named on the bench for the match which signals a return to Welford Road for Quins director of rugby Dean Richards.

Murphy is named as full-back, with Seru Rabeni and Alesana Tuilagi retaining their places on the wings, and Gibson coming in to partner Dan Hipkiss at centre. Goode is at fly-half, with Frank Murphy as his half-back colleague.

White teams up with Michael Holford and James Buckland in the front row, with Hamilton alongside captain Ben Kay at lock. Luke Abraham earns a call-up, with Shane Jennings and Brett Deacon completing the back row.

Leo Cullen and Ian Humphreys were not considered due to injury. Henry Tuilagi, Lewis Moody and Martin Castrogiovanni are also on the injured list.

"Leo has been carrying injuries for a while and we have decided to take him out and get them right," said head coach Pat Howard. "And Humphs got a dead leg against Saints last week."

On his team selection, Howard added: "Jim Hamilton has been on the bench recently with Leicester and with Scotland, so we wanted to get him back involved, get some game-time and give him an opportunity to put some pressure on the rest of the guys.

"Luke Abraham has been rewarded for his form during the autumn internationals and in December, and he will bring a bit of physicality.

"Goodey has recovered from his hamstring injury and, with a lot of competition for that 10 shirt, it would be fantastic for him to put in a big performance and try to nail down that position.

"It has been difficult to get Daryl Gibson back in with the form of the other guys, but we have made the decision that his leadership is a big factor and we have given him the opportunity to get back in and make a difference."

Tigers team (v NEC Harlequins, Welford Road, Saturday 5.15pm kick-off)
15 Geordan Murphy
14 Seru Rabeni
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Daryl Gibson
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Andy Goode
9 Frank Murphy
1 Michael Holford
2 James Buckland
3 Julian White
4 James Hamilton
5 Ben Kay (captain)
6 Luke Abraham
7 Shane Jennings
8 Brett Deacon

16 George Chuter
17 Marcos Ayerza
18 Louis Deacon
19 Martin Corry
20 Harry Ellis
21 Sam Vesty
22 Ollie Smith