Nemani Nadolo says Saturday’s opponents Harlequins have been in “hot” form in the Gallagher Premiership.
Fourth-placed Harlequins arrive at Mattioli Woods Welford Road as the only team to have scored more than 500 points after 18 rounds of the competition, scoring 17 tries in putting together three successive wins in recent weeks.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” said Nadolo who returns to the Leicester Tigers backline after missing the trip to Sale Sharks last Friday.
“They’re obviously a top-four side, they are red hot going through the competition and they have been playing some good rugby. But we can’t wait to play them here at Mattioli Woods Welford Road and hopefully put on a good show.
“We were a bit disappointed in our performance last week and we’ve been working hard to rectify it. Spirits are up and the energy level’s there.”
Nadolo joins Freddie Steward and Guy Porter in the Tigers back three, with Matt Scott also returning to the backline. Tommy Reffell makes his comeback after an injury absence as one of six Tigers Academy graduates in the forward pack.
The last two meetings of the teams have been won by Quins since a 30-30 draw at the national stadium during 2019/20, and Tigers’ last victory in the series was at Christmas in 2018.
Looking forward to this weekend, Quins general manager Billy Millard said: “Leicester are a team that have probably returned to their old school principles of late under Steve Borthwick. They are a well-organised team with a good set-piece and kicking game, so we’re well versed with the challenge we’ll face this week.
“We’ve had a couple of changes to our team over the last month or two, but we’ve been really pleased with the level of performances we’ve seen from the players, which is a credit to the depth of our squad and the quality of the mindset the players have at the moment.”
Nathan Earle comes into the Quins backline after injury to Cadan Murley, and James Lang returns at centre.
The clubs have met on 207 previous occasions with Leicester winning 115 to 82 by Quins and 10 games drawn. In total, 102 of those encounters have been at Welford Road, where Tigers’ record is won 63, drawn 5, lost 34.
Referee is Luke Pearce, who next week becomes the youngest official to take charge of a Heineken Champions Cup Final. The 33-year-old is referee for the 114th time in Premiership rugby today.
Round 19 fixtures are spread across five days, with midweek games next week able to welcome restricted crowds following the next step in the relaxation of government guidelines which come into effect on Monday.
Unfortunately, the Tigers fixture remains behind closed doors, though supporters are able to return for the final home game of the league season, against Bristol Bears on Saturday, June 5. Ticket ballot details have been circulated for that game.
There is live coverage of today’s game on BT Sport 2HD and any Tigers season ticket holders without a subscription can apply for a BT Sport Match Pass to follow the action. Full details have been emailed to season ticket holders.
You can also keep in touch with the club’s Matchday Live Service from wherever you are this weekend and vote for your Fans’ Favourite using the Tigers App. Make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent app update (Apple 2.11.0 or Android 36) to receive all of the latest news and info ahead of every matchday.
Gallagher Premiership Round 19 fixtures
Friday: Bath Rugby v Sale Sharks
Saturday: Wasps v Worcester Warriors (3.00pm), Leicester Tigers v Harlequins (3.30pm)
Monday: Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints (7.30pm), Bristol Bears v Gloucester Rugby (7.45pm)
Tuesday: London Irish v Exeter Chiefs (7.45pm)