Tigers and Quins renew hostilities
November 19, 2010
Nick Evans will spearhead Harlequins' charge © Getty Images
A matter of weeks after Harlequins took the spoils against Leicester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, the sides are back in action at Welford Road on Friday as the Aviva Premiership returns.
Leicester are currently on a poor run of form and have been weakened by international call-ups, leaving Quins with a chance to overhaul their rivals in the table with a win.
The London club are two from two after their Anglo-Welsh exertions, while the Tigers desperately need to snap out of their current funk as the halfway stage in the season nears.
Leicester - Player to Watch: Giant winger Manu Tuilagi makes his first Premiership start for the Tigers in place of his brother, Alesana, who is currently away with Samoa.
Leicester - Team News: Geordan Murphy, Anthony Allen and George Chuter have been released to play after training with Ireland and England respectively, while lock Geoff Parling is recalled on the bench after recovering from a neck injury sustained while on tour with England over the summer.
Harlequins - Player to Watch: Former England centre Ollie Smith has produced a muted start to his Quins career but will be desperate to make a big impression against his former club this weekend.
Harlequins - Team News: Nick Evans returns at fly-half to partner Karl Dickson while Ceri Jones, Joe Gray and James Johnston pack down in the front-row in the absence of Joe Marler, who was injured against Newcastle last weekend.
Key Battle: Billy Twelvetrees has grown in stature at fly-half this season but goes up against the best the Premiership has to offer in Evans this weekend. The Tigers youngster will have to be on top of his game to prevent Quins' Kiwi controller taking charge.
Trivia: Harlequins may have taken the points when the sides met in the Anglo-Welsh Cup, but they have never won at Welford Road in the Premiership.
Stats: Leicester have lost their last four games in all competitions - their worst run since 2003-04.
"It's good news for everyone to have Geoff Parling back in the squad. He had a strong season with us last season and he has come through his rehab from injury pretty well." - Leicester boss Richard Cockerill
"They will still field a side with close to 11 internationals in it, so whoever says you're facing a weakened Leicester is probably looking at the wrong team." - Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea
Fantasy: From six starts so far this season, Evans has brought home a cool 63 points and could be worth a look in the ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby Game.
Prediction: Quins will be confident of causing an upset but even in their weakened state the Tigers should scrape across the finishing line in front of their home fans.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies