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Match preview | Tigers renew rivalry in Round 1

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A rivalry spread over three centuries and 225 meetings is renewed for the opening game of the 2020/21 season at Mattioli Woods Welford Road this weekend when Leicester Tigers host Gloucester Rugby.

The two teams met for the first time back in 1891, a year before Tigers settled at their famous home, and the Cherry and Whites were among the very first visitors to Welford Road in November of the following season.

The win count over the years stands at 109-108 in Gloucester’s favour, and the close rivalry is reflected in the fact the last eight meetings have all been won by the home side on the day. Gloucester’s most recent success at Welford Road was in October 2007.

Last season’s game at Welford Road brought four points for Tigers in a dramatic 16-13 victory on World Cup Final day – with Tomás Lavanini making his debut – but Gloucester went ahead again in the overall match-up when they turned the tables in the return at Kingsholm after the season’s restart.

Leon Lloyd, Anthony Allen, Brett Deacon, Jim Hamilton, Owen Williams, Freddie Burns, Matt Scott and Fraser Balmain are among the players to represent both clubs in recent years, while Ed Slater, Billy Twelvetrees, Jamie Gibson and Jamal Ford-Robinson are in line to face their former team on Saturday. Gloucester head coach George Skivington is another man with Leicester links, while Tim Taylor in his backroom staff is a Tigers academy graduate.

There are four debutants in the Tigers squad for Saturday. Richard Wigglesworth and Jasper Wiese are named in Steve Borthwick’s starting selection, with Cyle Brink and Joaquin Diaz Bonilla among the replacements. Harry Wells makes his 100th appearance for the club.

One of Premiership Rugby’s newest referee appointments is in charge this weekend, with Jack Makepeace on the whistle for only the fourth time in the top flight.

There is live coverage of Saturday’s game on BT Sports Extra 2. Tigers season ticket holders without a subscription can register in advance for a BT Sport Match Pass. Check your email for all the details sent by the Leicester Tigers ticket office.

You can also keep up on the move using the Tigers Matchday Live service on the app and social media channels.

Elsewhere in Round 1:

Friday – Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs (7.45), Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints (8.00)

Saturday – Bath Rugby v Newcastle Falcons (12.30), Worcester Warriors v London Irish (3.00)

Sunday – Wasps v Bristol Bears (1.00)