Leicester Tigers v Harlequins preview: England’s Mike Brown starts for Quins
Leicester faces Harlequins in their first Aviva Premiership home game of the season on Sunday: 2 pm kick-off
World Cup trio Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Vereniki Goneva return to the Tigers squad
Harlequins make one change with England international Mike Brown coming in at fullback
Leicester Tigers welcome three of their Rugby World Cup stars back into the fold to face Harlequins in their first Aviva Premiership home game of the season at Welford Road on Sunday.
The hosts will look to build upon an encouraging 28-16 triumph away to London Irish in their Aviva Premiership Rugby opener last weekend and will take confidence from the fact they have lost just one of their last 18 home games at Welford Road.
However, the Tigers have won only two of their last nine matches against Harlequins in all competitions.
But they will be boosted by the fact they welcome back World Cup trio Tom Youngs, Dan Cole and Vereniki Goneva to their matchday squad for Sunday’s match while Matthew Tait continues to skipper the side. Other changes see Sebastian de Chaves return to the forward pack, with Mike Williams moving into the back row after starting at lock against Irish.
Meanwhile, Harlequins make one change to the side that edged past Wasps 26-21 on the opening weekend, as England international Mike Brown comes in for Ollie Lindsay-Hague at full-back.
Scrum-half Danny Care also returns to take his place on the bench after recovering from a back spasm he suffered during England’s Rugby World Cup 2015 match with Uruguay.
England Captain Chris Robshaw and new signing Tim Visser though will not be considered for selection until next week when Quins face an arduous trip to Bath.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leicester Tigers: Tom Youngs
A former centre, England’s first choice hooker has enjoyed a remarkable career since moving to play in the middle of the front row. His steady hands at the lineout and good scrummaging should make him the backbone of any success Leicester have. A good set piece will be crucial for the Tigers as they try to overcome a rejuvenated Harlequins.
Harlequins: Mike Brown
A product of the Harlequins Academy, Brown returns to the starting XV after being one of England’s better performers during their disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign. The 30-year-old has put in a series of memorable performances for Quins in the last year and will be essential to them improving on their lame eighth-place finish last term. His technique under the high ball and capability to get over the gain line could make the difference in what will be a closely contested game.
Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait(c), 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Tom Croft, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Mike Fitzgerald, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18mDan Cole, 19 Laurence Pearce, 20 Opeti Fonua, 21 Ben White, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Matt Smith
Harlequins: Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 George Lowe, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans (C), 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Jack Clifford (c), 5 Sam Twomey, 4 James Horwill, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Nick Easter, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague
Date: Sunday, October 25
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Tom Foley
Assistant Referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt