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Internationals return for Tigers

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Head coach Pat Howard has recalled five of his England internationals to the Leicester Tigers side for the EDF Energy Cup semi-final against Sale Sharks at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Martin Corry will captain the team, and Howard can also include George Chuter, Louis Deacon and Harry Ellis, as well as flanker Lewis Moody who has recovered from a shoulder injury.

"Julian White has been carrying a bit of an injury, but we are happy to welcome the guys back, not just the England players but also Geordan Murphy who has been away too," said Howard.

Chuter returns alongside Michael Holford and Marcos Ayerza in the front row, with Ben Kay joined by Deacon at lock. Shane Jennings lines up alongside Moody and Corry in the back row.

After handing the tighthead shirt to Holford, Howard said: "Holfs has been playing well, we are happy with his form and we feel sure that he is up for the challenge."

And on the return of Moody after a shoulder operation cut short his involvement in the Six Nations, he added: "The medical staff have done a fantastic job in getting him ready. He looks in great nick too and we are happy to have him in contention and happy to have the back row together again that played such a major part in Europe."

The fly-half spot goes to Paul Burke who started the EDF Energy Cup victories over Newport-Gwent Dragons and Worcester in the group stages of the competition.

"We have all three fly-halves available and the competition is very tight at the moment," Howard said. "Burkey was the 10 who got us into this position and he has played a major part in this competition for us this season. I am looking forward to seeing him continue that form."

Ellis, one of England's stand-out players in the Six Nations, partners Burke at half-back.

"Harry has been in fantastic form with England but he was also playing very well for us before that and it is great to have him back," add Howard.

Murphy returns at full-back, with Alesana Tuilagi and Tom Varndell on the wings. Daryl Gibson and Dan Hipkiss continue their partnership in the centres.

Martin Castrogiovanni, Scott Bemand, Ollie Smith and Leo Cullen are all ruled out by injury.

Leicester Tigers (vs Sale Sharks, Millennium Stadium, Saturday 2.30pm)

15 Geordan Murphy
14 Tom Varndell
13 Danny Hipkiss
12 Daryl Gibson
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Paul Burke
9 Harry Ellis

1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Michael Holford
4 Louis Deacon
5 Ben Kay
6 Shane Jennings
7 Lewis Moody
8 Martin Corry (capt)


16 Gavin Hickie
17 Alex Moreno
18 Tom Croft
19 Brett Deacon
20 Frank Murphy
21 Andy Goode
22 Seru Rabeni