Smith gets nod for Premiership finale
May 27, 2011
ESPNscrum Podcast: Aviva Premiership Season Review%]
Matt Smith has been handed the Leicester No.13 shirt for Saturday's Aviva Premiership Final showdown with Saracens in the absence of the suspended Manu Tuilagi.
Tuilagi is serving a five-week ban imposed by the Rugby Football Union after he was cited for punching Northampton's England wing Chris Ashton during Tigers' play-off victory over Saints a fortnight ago. The only Leicester changes from that game see Smith moved to outside centre, with Horacio Agulla filling Smith's normal wing slot.
England prop Dan Cole and the Rugby Players' Association's Players' Player of the Year Thomas Waldrom both have to be content with places on the bench.
Neil de Kock, meanwhile, has seemingly won the coin-toss to decide who will wear Saracens' number nine shirt in the final. South African de Kock and England international Richard Wigglesworth have alternated in the starting XV all season, and it was revealed they would toss a coin to decide which one of them would be on replacement duty at Twickenham.
"Neil and I came up with the idea of tossing a coin because we have played in strict rotation all season," said Wigglesworth, earlier this week. "It seemed the simplest way and (Saracens rugby director) Mark (McCall) agreed."
The scrum-half change is Saracens' solitary switch from the team that beat play-off opponents Gloucester 12-10 at Vicarage Road.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action