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Preview | Opening derby day of the season

Near-neighbours Leicester Tigers and Wasps meet in the first derby of the season at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Saturday (3.00pm) with just four points separating the teams going into Round 10 of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Wasps bounced back from successive defeats to win 17-13 win away to Worcester Warriors last weekend and have lost just once on the road in any competition – at Gloucester in Round 2 – during the last 12 months.

Tries from James Gaskell and Tom Willis helped them to the victory at Worcester to move into sixth place in the table on 24 points, with Tigers in ninth (20 points).

Tigers have lost just once at home since early December – against Sale Sharks last month – and the last eight Gallagher Premiership meetings have been won by the home side on the day.

Last season’s corresponding meeting, in February 2020 just weeks before lockdown started, ended in an 18-9 win for Tigers, though Wasps were convincing winners of the return in Coventry in the restart period in September. 

Overall the teams have met on 106 previous occasions, with Leicester winning 62 to 39 and five games drawn. This is the 49th meeting at Mattioli Woods Welford Road where Tigers have won 40. The most recent away win by Wasps was in September 2016.

In team news announced on Friday, Richard Wigglesworth returns to captain Tigers, with Jasper Wiese and Kobus van Wyk also back in the starting line-up after missing the defeat at Harlequins last weekend.

George Martin is unavailable after being called up to join club colleagues Ben Youngs, Ellis Genge and George Ford in the England squad.

Tigers wing Kini Murimurivalu, looking ahead to the game, said: “Wasps are a good side, they will bring physicality. We have good young guys who are eager to represent Tigers. Everyone is putting their hands up every week and training hard to be in the team.”

Wasps are without Paolo Odogwu and Dan Robson who are with England, while Joe Launchbury and Jack Willis are sidelined by injury.

Former Leicester duo Kieran Brookes and Jacob Umaga are named in the matchday squad while second-rower Will Rowlands returns from international duty with Wales to make his 100th appearance for Wasps.

James Gaskell and Josh Bassett are both in line for their 100th Premiership appearances for the club while on-loan scrum-half Alex Schwarz could make his debut from the bench as Ben Vellacott starts in place of the injured Sam Wolstenholme.

Match referee Craig Maxwell-Keys who takes charge for the 87th time in the Gallagher Premiership.

There is live coverage of Saturday’s game on BT Sport 2, with the Match Pass service available to season ticket holders without a subscription.

Or keep in touch throughout the weekend with the club’s website, app and social media, including Matchday Live from the stadium.

Elsewhere in Round 10:

Friday: Bath Rugby v Gloucester Rugby

Saturday: Harlequins v Sale Sharks (1.00pm), Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints (3.00pm), Worcester Warriors v Newcastle Falcons (Cancelled)

Sunday: London Irish v Bristol Bears (3.00pm)