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Leicester Tigers line-up to face Wasps

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Tom Croft makes his first start of the season as Leicester Tigers travel to London Wasps on Saturday.

After sitting out the first week of the Aviva Premiership Rugby season due to injury, Croft returned from the replacements bench for last Saturday’s home win over Exeter Chiefs and resumes his place in the back row for the trip to Adams Park.

International props Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni also return to the starting team, while on-loan Ed Slater steps up into the second row after coming off the bench in each of the opening two fixtures.

Matt Smith and Billy Twelvetrees line up at centre following ankle injuries to Dan Hipkiss and Anthony Allen in last week’s defeat of Exeter.

“I would never question the resilience of the boys,” said director of rugby Richard Cockerill. “We made some errors in attack and some poor decisions in defence against Exeter, but in the end we came through with the bonus-point win.

“We’ve been doing some very good things and, if we can tidy up a few bits and improve our accuracy, we are only going to get better.”

Summer signings Rob Hawkins and Horacio Agulla are brought into the replacements and Tonga international Steve Mafi joins the matchday squad for the first time.

Tigers are without Richard Blaze, Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling, Jordan Crane, Dan Hipkiss, Anthony Allen and Toby Flood due to injury.

Leicester Tigers (vs London Wasps, Adams Park, Saturday 3.05pm)
15 Geordan Murphy (c)
14 Scott Hamilton
13 Matt Smith
12 Billy Twelvetrees
11 Alesana Tuilagi
10 Jeremy Staunton
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 George Chuter
3 Martin Castrogiovanni
4 Ed Slater
5 George Skivington
6 Tom Croft
7 Ben Woods
8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Rob Hawkins
17 Dan Cole
18 Boris Stankovich
19 Steve Mafi
20 Craig Newby
21 James Grindal
22 Manu Tuilagi
23 Horacio Agulla

London Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 David Lemi, 10 Dave Walder, 9 Nic Berry; 1 Tim Payne, 2 Rob Webber, 3 Ben Broster, 4 Simon Shaw, 5 James Cannon, 6 Joe Worsley, 7 Tom Rees (c), 8 Andy Powell. Reps: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Tom French, 19 Richard Birkett, 20 Dan Ward-Smith, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Steve Kefu, 23 Richard Haughton