Tigers out to maul Leeds
February 11, 2011
Thomas Waldrom has been instrumental for Leicester this season © Getty Images
Basement boys Leeds are out to pull off one of the season's biggest upsets on Sunday as they take on Aviva Premiership leaders Leicester at Headingley.
Having finally broken their duck with a victory over Gloucester two rounds ago, a result followed up by a three-point loss to Bath, Leeds will be hopeful of turning over a Tigers side missing several key names to international duty.
The hosts will be on guard however as the Tigers' squad have already proved their resilience so far this campaign following a demoralising string of injuries.
Leeds - Player to Watch: The unavailability of England flanker Hendre Fourie, one of Leeds' try-scorers at Northampton last weekend, is a massive handicap. The pressure is on Rhys Oakley to step up to the mark and adequately fill the void.
Leeds - Team News: As well as Fourie, Steve Thompson is also away away on Six Nations duty this weekend so there is a start for Phil Nilsen at hooker. However, in a boost for Leeds, Marco Wentzel returns to skipper the side from the second row. There is no room in the squad for new signing Adrian Jarvis.
Leicester - Player to Watch: Ben Woods will be making his first Leicester start since the end of October after recovering from a wrist injury and it will be interesting to see how the flanker fares at Sandy Park.
Leicester - Team News: The Tigers are bolstered by the availability of six of their international brigade, with new England Saxons cap Manu Tuilagi handed a start at outside centre. In addition, Scott Hamilton, Alesana Tuilagi, Craig Newby, Marcos Ayerza, George Chuter and Julian White all return after being rest for the last two rounds of the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Key Battle: The breakdown is always pivotal and this weekend will be no different. The returning Woods will be grateful for the fact that he is not going head-to-head with an in-form Fourie and will be confident that he and his accomplices, Craig Newby and Thomas Waldrom, will be able to get the better of their Leeds counterparts.
Trivia: Leicester have won the last seven encounters between the two teams in the Premiership since Leeds' 23-22 victory at Headingley in March 2005.
Stats: Leicester back-row Thomas Waldrom leads the way in terms of carries this season on 157.
"It will be a tough, uncompromising game, Leeds are desperate for the points and we've got to make sure we battle for everything as much as they do." - Leicester boss Richard Cockerill
Fantasy: Waldrom has been racking up the metres and the tries this season, worth a look in your ESPNscrum's Fantasy Rugby Game team?
Prediction: Leicester are missing a plethora of players, through a combination of international call-ups and injuries, but they should still have enough about them to see off a desperately limited Leeds side.
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