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Team News | Leicester Tigers line-up to face Chiefs

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Steve Borthwick has named the Leicester Tigers matchday squad to take on Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park on Saturday in Round 14 of the Gallagher Premiership season. 

The Tigers head coach has made eight changes to the starting line-up that defeated Gloucester in Round 13.

Hanro Liebenberg will captain Tigers for the first time in his 26th appearance for the club, with the 25-year-old named alongside Tommy Reffell and Cyle Brink in an unchanged Leicester back row.

After coming off the bench in last weekend’s away win, Nephi Leatigaga, Charlie Clare and Joe Heyes will all start against the Chiefs in the Leicester front row while Tomás Lavanini partners Cameron Henderson in a new-look lock pairing.

February’s Topps Tiles Try-umph of the Month winner Jack Van Poortvliet is promoted from the Tigers bench to start at scrum-half, with the 19-year-old joined Zack Henry as the Leicester half-backs.

Matt Scott returns to the matchday squad at outside centre, joining Dan Kelly in the Tigers midfield, and Guy Porter joins Kobus Van Wyk and Freddie Steward in the Leicester back three. 

Jake Kerr is in line for his first Premiership appearance of the season after being included alongside James Whitcombe, Luan de Bruin, Harry Wells and Luke Wallace among the forwards on the bench for Saturday’s fixture. Ben White, Johnny McPhillips and Harry Potter are the backs replacements.

Previewing the game against Exeter, Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick said: “The Chiefs are a very well-coached side, sitting high on the Premiership ladder and present a big challenge for us this weekend.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take on the defending Gallagher Premiership champions at their home ground as a chance to test ourselves against the benchmark in the league.

“I’ve been pleased with the effort and commitment the players have shown this season and, this weekend against the Chiefs, we must take another step forward as a group in these early stages of the journey we are on at Leicester Tigers. 

“It’s important that the players selected to represent Tigers deliver a performance our supporters will be proud of on Saturday afternoon.”

Leicester Tigers (v Exeter Chiefs, away, Saturday 2.30pm)
[club appearances in brackets]

15 Freddie Steward [23]

14 Kobus Van Wyk [9]

13 Matt Scott [15]

12 Dan Kelly [9]

11 Guy Porter [12]

10 Zack Henry [18]

9 Jack Van Poortvliet [14]

1 Nephi Leatigaga [41]

2 Charlie Clare [22]

3 Joe Heyes [59]

4 Cameron Henderson [8]

5 Tomás Lavanini [28]

6 Cyle Brink [11]

7 Tommy Reffell [38]

8 Hanro Liebenberg (c) [25]

Replacements:

16 Jake Kerr [45]

17 James Whitcombe [2]

18 Luan de Bruin [8]

19 Harry Wells [112]

20 Luke Wallace [12]

21 Ben White [69]

22 Johnny McPhillips [14]

23 Harry Potter [8]

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Facundo Cordero, 14 Olly Woodburn, 13 Harvey Skinner, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds (c), 9 Jack Maunder; 1 Ben Moon,2 Jack Innard, 3 Harry Williams, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 5 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Dave Ewers, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 8 Sam Simmonds
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Alec Hepburn, 18 Marcus Street, 19 Don Armand, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Dan John, 23 Josh Hodge