Leicester Tigers face Bath in Sunday’s only Aviva Premiership fixture at Welford Road: 15:00 kick-off
Tigers Club Captain Ed Slater will make his 100th appearance
Matt Banahan will also make his 200th appearance for Bath
It’s a day of milestones as under-performing Bath head to Leicester, who are looking for an upturn in form of their own.
Jersey-born full back Matt Banahan will make his 200th appearance for Bath in Sunday’s only Premiership clash, while Leicester second row Ed Slater will turn out for the 100th for Tigers.
Banahan, who has scored 76 tries for the club since joining in 2006, partners Kyle Eastmond in the midfield in his milestone game, while Argentina’s Horacio Agulla makes his first start of the season on the wing, joined by Semesa Rokoduguni on the other wing and full-back Anthony Watson in an athletic-looking back three
In the halves, number nine Niko Matawalu is paired with fly half George Ford as Sunday’s visitors look to get their Premiership campaign back on track following a steely 19-16 win over Leinster in the Champions’ Cup last weekend.
Mike Ford as kept faith with the front row which produced that win, with Nick Auterac, Ross Batty and Henry Thomas all keeping their places. Meanwhile, captain Stuart Hooper shares the second row with academy graduate Tom Ellis, who is set for his senior debut for the club.
Among the substitutes for the star-studded Bath side is David Denton, the man brought in to replace Sam Burgess after his swift departure back to Rugby League. The Scotland man could also make his debut this weekend after joining up with his new team mates after the World Cup.
And, as Leicester’s Slater prepares to become a centurion, it will also be the pack man’s first start of the year. Tommy Bell continues at fly half after racing to his 100th Tigers point during his side’s 36-3 thrashing of Benetton Treviso last weekend.
But a reshuffle comes in the outside backs as captain Mathew Tait lines up at full back, with Telusa Veainu on the wing and Peter Betham partnering Matt Smith in the centres.
Bath’s last two wins over Leicester have seen them score 92 points, conceding just 10
But Leicester picked up a 17-10 home win between those defeats
Leicester have scored 88 points in their last three games in all competitions
Bath have scored 103 in their last three games in all competitions
Bath have lost just once in their last seven clashes with Leicester
Betting Odds (via SkyBet)
Leicester 1/2; Bath 7/4; Drawn Match 28/1
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leicester: Tommy Bell
The Plymouth-born 23-year-old has filled in almost everywhere in the backs during his career, ahead of moving to Tigers last summer, but he showed an unerring level of confidence in leading his side to a comfortable win in Italy last weekend. With age on his side, his match up with Goerge Ford, a potential fellow fly half England competitor, is something he will relish.
Bath: Tom Ellis
Highly-rated youngster who will be keen to make a lasting impression on his Premiership bow. The former England under 20s man has had to be patient for his chance, but has been given a firm test on his debut. Going face to face with Leicester’s pack could be a daunting prospect, but, aided by captain Stuart Hooper, he could be just the unpredictable proposition Bath need to kick on.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait (c), 14 Adam Thompstone, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Matt Smith, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Tommy Bell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Graham Kitchener, 20 Tom Croft, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Seremaia Bai, 23 George Catchpole.
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 George Ford, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Tom Ellis, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Nathan Catt, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 David Denton, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Chris Cook, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer.
Date: Sunday 29 November
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, Paul Dix
TMO: David Grashoff