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Leicester Tigers line-up for opening day at Saints

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Leicester Tigers will give debuts to summer signings George Skivington and Thomas Waldrom in Sunday's Aviva Premiership Rugby opener against Northampton Saints.

Second-rower Skivington and No8 Waldrom join a starting XV which includes nine of the players who started the Premiership Final in May.

“We’ve had a good pre-season, we’ve improved over the weeks, but now we’ll see exactly how those preparations have gone,” said director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

“Northampton are a good side, they have good individuals and work well as a team, and they had a good season last year. It’s a tough start and it’s going to be a big challenge. Two good sides should make for a good game.”

Richard Blaze (foot), Geoff Parling (neck), Louis Deacon (back) and Jordan Crane (ankle) were not considered for selection due to injury, and Tom Croft will have to wait to make his first appearance of the season.

“Crofty has been carrying a bit of a knock in pre-season and, although he’s training again, we decided to give him a bit more time,” said Cockerill.

Ed Slater, on loan from Nottingham, is included among the forwards replacements, and there is a place in the 23 for Manu Tuilagi who is yet to make his competitive debut for the club.

Senior players including summer signings Lee Robinson and Horacio Agulla, and new recruit Steve Mafi are expected to be involved in the opening Premiership Rugby 'A' League match against Northampton Wanderers at Welford Road on Monday. Kick-off is at 7.3pm. See the club website now for ticket details.

Tigers open their home season in the new Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday, September 11. Kick-off is at 5.30pm and tickets are available now.

Leicester Tigers (versus Northampton Saints, Franklin’s Gardens, Sunday 3pm)
15 Geordan Murphy (c)
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Anthony Allen
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Calum Green
5 George Skivington
6 Craig Newby
7 Ben Woods
8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Joe Duffey
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Dan Cole
19 Ed Slater
20 Ben Pienaar
21 James Grindal
22 Jeremy Staunton
23 Manu Tuilagi

Northampton Saints team:
15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jon Clarke, 12 James Downey, 11 Bruce Reihana, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson; 1 Soane Tongauiha, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 3 Brian Mujati, 4 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 6 Phil Dowson, 7 Tom Wood, 8 Roger Wilson. Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Regardt Dreyer, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Calum Clark, 20 Mark Easter, 21 Ryan Powell, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Joe Ansbro