Leicester v South Africa, Welford Road, November 6
Tigers out to maul Springboks
November 5, 2009
Aaron Mauger will lead Leicester against the Springboks © Getty Images
South Africa will kick off their end of year tour against Premiership side Leicester at Welford Road on Friday night in the official opening of the Tigers' new-look stadium.
A capacity 24,000 crowd and a strong Leicester side will provide a hostile reception for the Springboks ahead of their clash with France in Toulouse on November 13. The Tri-Nations champions are also scheduled to tackle Premiership side Saracens (November 17), Italy (November 21) and Six Nations winners Ireland (November 28) over the coming weeks.
The Tigers have put their injury nightmare aside in recent weeks to stay in contention at the business end of the Premiership and get their Heineken Cup campaign off to a positive start and they will be determined to preserve their unbeaten home run since the unveiling of the brand new Caterpillar Stand.
Fresh from action in the Currie Cup, the young South African side will want to put in an accomplished performance and impress coach Peter De Villiers ahead of the bigger tests to come. He has handed the captain's armband to Blue Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle, who also skippered a Springbok XV against a World Selection in Leicester two years ago.
Ralepelle will be up against former Wales hooker Mefin Davies and a formidable Tigers front-row. Marcos Ayerza and Martin Castrogiovanni are the Leicester props and will face two players with full Springbok honours in Gurthro Steenkamp and Jannie du Plessis.
Jeremy Staunton and Anthony Allen have been rested by Leicester boss Richard Cockerill after playing all of their games so far this season, meaning that Ralepelle's rival skipper will be former All Black Aaron Mauger, wearing Staunton's No.10 jersey.
Ruan Pienaar starts at fly-half for the Boks, with Heini Adams in at scrum-half. Wynand Olivier provides further international experience in the centre and is joined by exciting Western Province product Juan de Jongh. Fullback Earl Rose has been handed another chance to impress at fullback and is joined by Odwa Ndungane and Jongi Nokwe.
Openside Heinrich Brussow was named to start in a surprise move, but has since been pulled from the side due to a tour-ending injury to No.8 Pierre Spies. Davon Raubenheimer has been promoted from the bench, with Emerging Springbok Dewald Potgieter shifting to the No.6 jersey.
The Tigers field the same pack that saw off Northampton last weekend, with lock Calum Green joined by England World Cup-winner Ben Kay also starting.
Leicester Tigers: Scott Hamilton; Lucas Amorosino, Andy Forsyth, Manu Tuilagi, Johne Murphy; Aaron Mauger (capt), Ben Youngs; Marcos Ayerza, Mefin Davies, Martin Castrogiovanni, Calum Green, Ben Kay, Geoff Parling, Ben Pienaar, Brett Deacon
Replacements: George Chuter, Dan Cole, Tom Armes, Dan Hemingway, James Grindal, Greig Tonks, Lote Tuqiri
South Africa: Earl Rose; Odwa Ndungane, Juan de Jongh, Wynand Olivier, Jongi Nokwe; Ruan Pienaar, Heini Adams; Gurthro Steenkamp, Chiliboy Ralepelle (capt), Jannie du Plessis, Danie Rossouw, Andries Bekker, Davon Raubenheimer, Dewald Potgieter, Ashley Johnson
Replacements: Bandise Maku, Heinke van der Merwe, Alistair Hargreaves, Jean Deysel, Francois Hougaard, Meyer Bosman, Riaan Viljoen
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel