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Leicester Tigers line-up for opening test

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Heyneke Meyer has made his team selection for his first Guinness Premiership fixture as head coach of Leicester Tigers, against Gloucester at Kingsholm on Sunday (kick-off 4pm).

Aaron Mauger will captain the Tigers XV after being named in a backline unchanged from the final pre-season fixture against Western Force last weekend. He is joined by full-back Geordan Murphy, wings Tom Varndell and Alesana Tuilagi, centre Dan Hipkiss and half-backs Toby Flood and Harry Ellis in an all-international back division.

England internationals George Chuter and Julian White are joined by Marcos Ayerza in the front row, with Richard Blaze and Ben Kay at lock. Tom Croft, Ben Herring and Jordan Crane form the back-row combination.

Summer arrival Flood makes his first Guinness Premiership appearance for Tigers, while fellow close-season signings Ben Woods and Julien Dupuy are named among the replacements at Kingsholm.

Head coach Meyer said: “The work ethic has been great here and the players have worked very hard in the off-season. We made improvements in each of the pre-season games and now we will be looking to improve again. Gloucester are a very good side and this will be a good contest.

“We have got a good squad here and I am looking forward to the first game and looking forward to trying to get the best out of the players.”

Prop Martin Castrogiovanni and fellow forwards Lewis Moody and Louis Deacon are sidelined for the opening weeks of the campaign, while Martin Corry, Ayoola Erinle and summer signing Derick Hougaard were also not considered for selection due to injury.

Leicester Tigers (versus Gloucester, away, Sunday 4pm)
15 Geordan Murphy
14 Tom Varndell
13 Dan Hipkiss
12 Aaron Mauger (c)
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Toby Flood
9 Harry Ellis
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Julian White
4 Richard Blaze
5 Ben Kay
6 Tom Croft
7 Ben Herring
8 Jordan Crane

16 Benjamin Kayser
17 Dan Cole
18 Marco Wentzel
19 Ben Woods
20 Julien Dupuy
21 Sam Vesty
22 Matt Smith