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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers travel to the Exiles

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Leicester Tigers return to the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday to face London Irish in fourth game of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Tigers were the first official visitors to the Exiles’ new home a year ago, when they were beaten 22-9, and make the return trip in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership campaign.

London Irish were narrowly beaten at Northampton last time out (23-21) with Agustin Creevy and Tom Parton on the scoresheet alongside a penalty try, while they shared the points in a draw with Sale Sharks in their last home game.

Tigers have begun the season with three successive wins, beating Saracens last weekend when a late penalty try sealed a 13-12 victory. They have not won four in a row from the start of the season since 2000/01.

The last five matches between the teams have all gone with home field advantage.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, prop Dan Cole, who has started all three games so far, said: “You can see this season that Irish are a team that does not go away. If I remember right, when we played them at home last year we were attacking, trying to get a four-try bonus point, and they turned us over and got down the other end to score and took two bonus points off the back of it.

“They’re a very good side with internationals through the pack, Creevy is a talisman and they have a tough forward pack, a good scum and maul, Paddy Jackson puts them in the right areas – they’re not just a team that likes to play the ball around.”

Former Tigers favourite Steve Mafi is included in the Irish forward pack, joining Australia international Adam Coleman in the second row, while Terrence Hepetema is included in the backline, lining up next to Curtis Rona at centre.

“Leicester are in good form, as shown by their league position,” said director of rugby Declan Kidney. “They will come into the contest in high spirits.

“It’s up to us to give a good account of ourselves in front of our home supporters. We are all excited to get back to the Brentford Community Stadium because we love playing there. Our supporters certainly helped us in our last match there, and we can’t wait to hear them in full voice again.”

Steve Borthwick brings club captain Ellis Genge and fellow internationals Nemani Nadolo, Matt Scott and Freddie Steward back into the Tigers starting line-up and gives a first start to Juan Pablo Socino.

South Africa international back-rower Marco van Staden is in line for his club debut and Argentina captain Julián Montoya also returns from international duty.

Tigers will wear the club’s change colours of white, black and orange on Saturday with Irish in their traditional green and white.

Referee is Adam Leal, in charge of a Premiership fixture for the 12th time.

Saturday’s game is not listed for live coverage with BT Sport, but supporters can keep in touch with the Tigers’ Matchday Live service on website and app, and with the club’s social media channels.

Round 4 in full:

Friday – Harlequins v Bristol Bears (7.45pm)

Saturday – Exeter Chiefs v Worcester Warriors (3.00pm), Gloucester Rugby v Sale Sharks (3.00pm), London Irish v Leicester Tigers (3.00pm), Saracens v Newcastle Falcons (3.00pm)

Sunday – Wasps v Northampton Saints (3.00pm)