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Match preview: Tigers at Exeter Chiefs

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Leicester Tigers make their first Christmas Eve playing appearance in exactly 50 years with the trip to Exeter Chiefs this Saturday.

Not since 1966 have Tigers been in action a day before Christmas. On that occasion they won 3-0 away to London Irish thanks to a penalty from Keith Chilton.
Both Tigers and hosts Exeter go into Saturday’s game on the back of European victory last weekend, with the Chiefs beating Bordeaux-Begles while Leicester beat Munster.
The clubs have met on 52 previous occasions, with Tigers winning 35 to 13 by the Chiefs and four games drawn. Seven of those games have been at Sandy Park, where the Tigers record is won three, lost four.
Last season’s two fixtures yielded more than 80 points, with Tigers winning a thriller at Welford Road with scores from Manu Tuilagi, Adam Thomopstone, Peter Betham and a penalty try. Click here for all the details from that game.
Chiefs have lost just one of their last six games, while Tigers have lost one in seven in the build-up to this Round 11 fixture which is already a sell-out.
Tigers welcome Mike Williams back into the starting line-up and Dan Cole into the matchday squad this weekend, while Chiefs include former Leicester No8 Thomas Waldrom, a try-scorer against his former colleagues in a Welford Road encounter in March 2015.
Director of rugby Richard Cockerill knows his team will be in for  challenge at Sandy Park, saying: “Exeter are strong, they hold the ball longer than any other side, they spend a lot of time in the opposition 22 and their execution rate is very high.
“Our discipline has to be very good and we have to control what we can control.
“We are a good side, Exeter are a good side, it’s a sold-out Christmas fixture, it should be a big game. We need to make sure we put in a big shift.”
Referee on Saturday is Tom Foley.
Tigers will be in the club’s alternate acid green kit at Sandy Park.