Leicester Tigers welcome Italian opposition to Mattioli Woods Welford Road for the first time since 2016 this Saturday afternoon.
An Italian Select XV, drawn from players at URC clubs Benetton and Zebre as well as the national pathway, come to Tigers for a one-off fixture played during a gap in the Gallagher Premiership season as part of a first-ever Double Header which also features the women’s team fixture against Loughborough Town Ladies.
Kick-off in the men’s game is at 1.00pm, with the women’s team to follow at 3.15pm.
Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick includes Guy Porter in the starting line-up following his release from the England squad, and Hanro Liebenberg leads a team also including internationals Anthony Watson, Nemani Nadolo and Dan Cole. Cameron Henderson and Olly Cracknell are added to the forward pack and Charlie Atkinson is named among the replacements following his arrival at the club this week.
Previewing the game for the media earlier this week, Tigers head of athletic performance Aled Walters said: “We are desperate to get back out on the field and we’re really happy to have this game on Saturday with some big tests to come in the Gallagher Premiership season over the next few weeks.
“The week looks exactly the same as a Premiership week. This is a meaningful match, we want to get out and perform. It will be great to play at Mattioli Woods Welford Road again.
“The Italians have their opportunity too. It’s an international period in a World Cup year, they need as much insight into their group as possible so it will be a meaningful for those guys I am sure.”
Alessandro Troncon, the first Italian to play in 100 Tests, is in charge of the visiting team, with 26 players in the matchday squad including eight senior internationals.
Tigers have previously faced five Italian opponents at Mattioli Woods Welford Road – Benetton Treviso (5 times), Calvisano (4), Amatori Milano (3), Viadana (1) and Aironi (1). Representative teams have made several visits too, with Italy twice playing in Rugby World Cup fixtures at the venue, in 1991 and ’99, as well as appearances from Italy ‘A’, Under-21s and Students in the 1980s and ’90s.
Saturday’s referee is Mr Dan Jones.
Tigers will be in the club’s change blue kit, with the visitors in white shirts.
Click here for the Matchday Guide and everything you need to know if you are joining us on Saturday, including details of the pre-match Remembrance service.
Entry is included in all season tickets.
Match tickets are still available. Book online, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or in person.