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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers in Wasps in Prem Cup

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Leicester Tigers make the short trip to face Wasps in a lunchtime fixture in the second round of the Premiership Rugby Cup today (Saturday).

Kick-off at the Coventry Building Society Arena is at 1.30pm to avoid a clash with England’s final test of the autumn series against South Africa which follows at 3.15pm.

Tigers’ winning run, which now stretches to 10 games in league and cup, began with the trip to Wasps in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership last season. It is the club’s best run of results since 2012.

They have also won their last six away games but have not won seven in succession on the road since 1996.

Leicester have won five of their last seven meetings of the teams, but have won just twice since Wasps moved to Coventry, on their first visit in 2016 and most recent in June.

Overall the two clubs have met on 109 previous occasions with Leicester winning 64 to 39 by Wasps and five games drawn.

Brett Deacon leads the coaching team in this competition and the Tigers line-up includes George Martin in the forward pack after his release from the England squad.

There are also places for Tommy Reffell, Calum Green, Charlie Clare and Dan Kelly among the changes since the 32-23 win over Sale Sharks in Round 1 last Saturday.

Francois van Wyk, normally a loosehead prop, joins Reffell and Martin in the back row and said: “This is a unique competition. The young boys in the squad want to grab their opportunities and show what they’re about so training intensity is still the same and the guys are all buying into the whole system.

“To me, gametime is everything. If I can play anywhere, I want to be part of that 23.

“Jimmy Whitcombe was excellent at flanker last week with his workrate, his tackling, his carries. Everybody who gets the opportunity in a Tigers shirt wants to prove a point. It is giving coaches a hard time to select a team for the future and that’s what we need.”

A young Wasps team led by transition coach Scott Barrow and featuring 12 debutants, lost 34-27 at Newcastle Falcons in Round 1 but did lead 24-17 at half-time thanks to tries from Olly Harley, James Tunney and former hooker Michael van Vuuren who had a short spell at Tigers.

Hartley was among the debutants while Scotland inrternational prop Gordon Reid, signed on a short-term contract, was another to run out in a Wasps shirt for the first time.

Newcastle Falcons moved to the top of the pool after their win over Sale Sharks in Round 2 on Friday evening which took them on to six points, two more than Tigers ahead of Saturday afternoon. Sharks have four points from two games, with Wasps taking one point from their opening game.

Wasps are led by transition coach Scott Barrow retains the starting team that lost narrowly at Newcastle last week, with former Tigers duo van Vuuren and Sebastian de Chaves among the forwards.

On the bench, academy trio Alfie Bell, Fyn Brown and Greg Fisilau are in line for their debuts.

Referee on Saturday is Hamish Smales. His assistants are Phil Watters and Simon Harding.

Tigers will be in change colours of white, black and orange.

There is no live coverage of the game scheduled but you can keep up to date with the Tigers’ Matchday Live service on app and website, and the club’s social media pages, including full post-match reaction.

Round 2 in full

Friday: Harlequins v Northampton Saints, London Irish v Saracens, Sale Sharks v Newcastle Falcons

Saturday: Gloucester Rugby v Exeter Chiefs (1.00pm), Wasps v Leicester Tigers (1.30pm), Worcester Warriors v Bristol Bears (3.00pm),