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Leicester Tigers team news against Exeter Chiefs

Tom Youngs

Experienced duo Tom Youngs and Tom Croft return to the Leicester Tigers starting line-up for Friday’s Aviva Premiership Round 17 fixture against Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road.

Club captain Youngs started among the replacements in the win at Harlequins in Round 16 while Croft is back in the matchday squad after sitting out the trip to The Stoop last weekend.

Youngs joins Greg Bateman and Michele Rizzo, who played for Italy against England in the Six Nations last weekend, in the front row, while Croft teams up with Brendon O’Connor and Luke Hamilton in the back row of the forward pack.

Matt Smith returns to the backline alongside Maxime Mermoz, with Peter Betham among the replacements this week after making his 50th appearance for the club in the match against Quins. Owen Williams starts at fly-half, with Jono Kitto at scrum-half this week.

Ellis Genge and Mike Williams have been released back to the club after training with the England squad this week and are named among the replacements.

Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger said: “The last few performances have been a step in the right direction, but we also know there are things to tidy up and we are going to have to be better on Friday. Exeter are a quality side, they are well-balanced with a good pack and the skillset to play out wide too.

“We’re still focused on being better, we have good competition for places in the squad and there is a good intensity about training.

“It’s always a pleasure to play in front of your own crowd and a Friday night fixture is a great way for supporters to unwind at the end of the week and come down to the game. Hopefully everyone will be in full voice by the time the game starts.”

Tickets for Friday’s game are still available at the Tigers ticket office. Book in person at Welford Road, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or online at www.leicestertigers.com.

Leicester Tigers (v Exeter Chiefs, Welford Road, Friday 7.45pm)

15 Telusa Veainu
14 Adam Thompstone
13 Matt Smith
12 Maxime Mermoz
11 JP Pietersen
10 Owen Williams
9 Jono Kitto

1 Michele Rizzo
2 Tom Youngs (c)
3 Greg Bateman
4 Mike Fitzgerald
5 Dom Barrow
6 Tom Croft
7 Brendon O’Connor
8 Luke Hamilton

Replacements
16 George McGuigan
17 Ellis Genge
18 Pat Cilliers
19 Mike Williams
20 Lachlan McCaffrey
21 Sam Harrison
22 Freddie Burns
23 Peter Betham

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