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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers are back home at last

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Leicester Tigers host a Gallagher Premiership fixture for the first time in 50 days as London Irish come to Mattioli Woods Welford Road this Sunday (3.00pm).

Scheduled league dates with Wasps and Worcester Warriors have both been cancelled since Tigers last played at home in league competition against Sale Sharks back on October 8.

That game against Sharks ended a 14-match winning run in the competition at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

Tigers have won their last three league meetings with London Irish since a 22-9 defeat at Brentford in November 2020, including a 47-28 victory in this fixture last season when Nemani Nadolo scored two of the seven tries. Nadolo makes his 43rd and final appearance for the club this weekend before his return to Australia with the NSW Waratahs.

Head coach Steve Borthwick includes five players returning from the international period in his matchday 23, including Julián Montoya and Jasper Wiese, while Ollie Chessum returns from injury.

Matt Scott, who lines up alongside Harry Potter at centre, says Tigers know the threat posed by the visitors.

“Whenever you watch a London Irish game, it tends to be very entertaining,” Scott said. “They have got individuals who thrive in broken field play, Paddy Jackson controls everything at 10. Like us, they’ve not played a lot recently either and will be really excited to come and play us.

“We are very aware of how dangerous they’re going to be. Most of their games are high-scoring games but there are usually just a couple of points in it. They are probably one of the most difficult sides to play at the moment.”

Addressing the lengthy gap between league games, Scott added: “The coaching team we have, there are no wasted moments here, it is all very purposeful and based on anything that makes us better. We’ve reacted quickly as a playing group and worked hard.”

Declan Kidney includes former Tigers prop Facundo Gigena in his Irish starting line-up and welcomes back scrum-half Ben White from Scotland duties.

"An away fixture to Leicester Tigers is always an exciting prospect," said director of rugby Kidney. “We know the style of rugby that they will want to play, and it will be up to us to counter that. We’ve had a bit of a truncated schedule over the past four weeks owing to fallow weekends, but Sunday’s match is the start of an important block of fixtures for us."

The clubs have met on 72 previous occasions with Leicester winning 59, to 12 by Irish and one game drawn.

Referee is Anthony Woodthorpe, in his 17th Premiership appointment.

Click here for the Matchday Guide and everything you need to know if you are joining us on Sunday. Match tickets are still available. Book online, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or in person.

Round 11 in full:

Friday: Newcastle Falcons 24-21 Exeter Chiefs, Harlequins 21-12 Gloucester Rugby
Saturday: Sale Sharks v Bristol Bears
Sunday:  Leicester Tigers v London Irish