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Team news | Tigers Shield side to face Falcons

Tom Varndell will run out as a Leicester Tigers player for the first time in almost 10 years, with the former England international named on the wing for the Premiership Shield fixture against Newcastle Falcons at Loughborough University on Monday (December 31).

The 33-year-old Varndell last played for the club in the Premiership semi-final win over Bath in May 2009 at Welford Road and scored 65 tries in 113 appearances for Tigers. He is also Premiership Rugby's record tryscorer with 92 in top-flight rugby.

Wales Under-20s captain Tommy Reffell will lead the side at No.8 alongside fellow academy graduates Henri Lavin and Taylor Gough, who were part of last season’s Under-18 League title-winning squad.

Tonga internationals David Feao and Valentino Mapapalangi have also been named in the starting side, while Italy international Leonardo Sarto will start his first game for the club after arriving on a short-term contract as injury cover.

Joe Ford partners academy scrum-half Jonny Law at half-back.

England Under-20s cap Tom Hardwick starts alongside Charlie Thacker in the midfield, with summer signing Sam Aspland-Robinson at full-back.

Current academy members George Martin and Freddie Steward have been named among the replacements and are in line for their first appearances in the Premiership Rugby Shield competition.

Tigers Development XV: 15 Sam Aspland-Robinson, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Charlie Thacker, 12 Tom Hardwick, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Jonny Law, 1 Owen Hills, 2 Ross McMillan, 3 David Feao, 4 Valentino Mapapalangi, 5 Sam Lewis, 6 Henri Lavin, 7 Taylor Gough, 8 Tommy Reffell (c)

Replacements: 16 Harry Mahoney, 17 Sam Grahamslaw, 18 Facundo Gigena, 19 George Martin, 20 Thom Smith, 21 Thomas Walsh, 22 Tim Bitirim, 23 Freddie Steward

Kick-off at Loughborough University is 1.00pm and the venue can be accessed via Epinal Way, Loughborough (LE11 3TU) with parking available on-site for supporters. Entry is free.