Wounded Tigers set for Treviso trip
October 8, 2010
Scott Hamilton starts on the wing for Leicester © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers kick off their Heineken Cup campaign for another season with an away trip to Magners League newcomers Benetton Treviso on Saturday, with their sights set on topping Pool 5.
The Tigers are currently managing a fearsome injury list and will find Treviso a difficult proposition away from home. The Italians have already accounted for Leinster, the Dragons and Pool 5 rivals the Scarlets at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo so far this season and will not be overawed by their English rivals.
Leicester will not stoop to the levels of complacency shown by Perpignan in the first game of last season's Heineken Cup but, for the first time, the Italians may not need them to.
Benetton Treviso - Player to Watch: Kris Burton has kicked everything placed in front of him so far this season and he will need to take all of his opportunities if Treviso are to secure another big scalp.
Benetton Treviso - Team News: Tommaso Benvenuti and Alberto Sgarbi start in midfield, while Italian international Luke McLean replaces Tobias Botes at fullback. Former Bath wing Joe Maddock is named on the bench.
Leicester - Player to Watch: Toby Flood returns at fly-half for the Tigers and his steadying hand has been sorely missed in recent seasons. Treviso will be well organised and Flood will have to do a job for his team in terms of guaranteeing territory.
Leicester - Team News: Geordan Murphy, Alesana Tuilagi, Ben Youngs and George Chuter all return to the starting line-up after sitting out last weekend's loss to Saracens at Vicarage Road. Martin Castrogiovanni also returns at tight-head, Dan Cole dropping to the bench.
Key Battle: Italian sides never take a backwards step in the scrum but Leicester will go all out in the set piece. Once the big boys have gone at it up front this one will be about direction, however, and Flood and Burton need to stamp their authority on proceedings.
Trivia: Leicester have faced Italian competition on 12 occasions in the Heineken Cup, winning all 12 matches.
Stats: Leicester skipper Geordan Murphy is their leading try-scorer in the Heineken Cup with 12.
"We have had some good crowds and good atmosphere at home in the league so the aim is to replicate that for the Leicester match. Hopefully we will benefit from playing in the Celtic League and, although it is early days, we want to carry the intensity and experience from that to give us a good chance." - Treviso assistant coach Marius Goosen
"We want to be at the top table and playing in those big games. But you've got to manage your way through the pool stages first. We're doing some good things too, we're playing some good rugby and we're scoring tries, we're a work in progress." - Leicester captain Geordan Murphy
Prediction: The Tigers don't do half measures and they will go at Treviso hammer and tongs. A hard-fought away win - but no bonus point.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham