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Irish go for youth

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London Irish have put their faith in a youthful backline to face Leicester Tigers at Welford Road tomorrow (kick-off 2.45pm).

A combination of injury and international calls means that Shane Geraghty (20), Topsy Ojo (21), Delon Armitage (22) and Paul Hodgson (24) start alongside skipper Mike Catt, Michael Horak and Seilala Mapusua who has been released back to the club by the Pacific Islanders tour party.

Declan Danaher, Riki Flutey and Kieran Roche picked up injuries last week and Barry Everitt pulled up in training. As a result, there are six personnel changes from the XV that started the 22-11 defeat by Gloucester at the Madejski Stadium last Friday night.

Horak starts at full-back with Delon Armitage switching to the left wing. Seilala Mapusua returns at outside centre, while Shane Geraghty partners Paul Hodgson at half-back for the first time this season. Nick Kennedy comes into the second row, with Aidan McCullen and Olivier Magne in the back row.

"Welford Road is as tough an assignment as exists in club rugby in this country," director of rugby Brian Smith told Irish club website. "We have lost more players to injury, but that creates an opportunity for the talented young men that have come through our Academy to show what they are capable of. The squad has looked sharp in training and we travel as optimistically as ever you can when you visit the Tigers!"

London Irish team

15 Michael Horak
14 Topsy Ojo
13 Seilala Mapusua
12 Mike Catt (capt)
11 Delon Armitage
10 Shane Geraghty
9 Paul Hodgson

1 Neal Hatley
2 Robbie Russell
3 Tonga Lea'aetoa
4 Nick Kennedy
5 Bob Casey
6 Aidan McCullen
7 Olivier Magne
8 Phil Murphy

16 Richard Skuse
17 Danie Coetzee
18 James Hudson
19 Steffon Armitage
20 Dominic Feaunati
21 Richie Rees
22 Justin Bishop