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Preview: London Irish v Leicester Tigers

Preview: London Irish v Leicester Tigers

London Irish are flying high and wing Alex Lewington is targeting an out-of-sorts Leicester Tigers side for another major Aviva Premiership scalp on Sunday.

Leicester came out on top 20-11 when the sides met at Welford Road in November, but the Exiles could not be heading into the return fixture in better form.

After sinking Saracens at Allianz Park, Brian Smith’s side beat London Wasps last weekend – while Leicester have edged to nervy wins against struggling Worcester Warriors and Gloucester Rugby.

Lewington retains his place, despite the return to fitness of England wing Marland Yarde, while Darren Allinson comes in to replace suspended scrum-half Tomas O’Leary.

He is keen to punish his former side at the Madejski Stadium – but Lewington has warned his teammates to keep a keen eye on the in-form Niki Goneva.

“I think we were really unlucky not to have got anything out of the game when we played them up at their ground,” he said. “But saying that most teams go up there and feel like that.

“This time we owe them a result and personally for me it will be nice to pick up all the points against my old team. 

“Having watched their last two games it is clear that things aren’t going too well for them. And when things don’t go well for them they refer back to the set piece.

“Our forwards will have a big challenge there, they will try and keep their game plan tight against us but they will have done their analysis and will come at us with whatever they think will work.

“I think Niki Goneva is their stand-out man at the moment, he is playing well and scoring the points for them.”

Despite their indifferent displays Leicester have continued to grind out victories, losing just once in their last seven Aviva Premiership encounters.

However, they have not won successive away games in the competition since last March – a record Richard Cockerill’s side have the opportunity to end on Sunday.

Ed Slater will captain Leicester for the first time, while Owen Williams starts at fly-half and Goneva moves into the centres to accommodate Blaine Scully.

Lewington’s opposite man, Adam Thompstone, is also facing his former side and he is expecting to come up against an Exiles side brimming with confidence.

“It is going to be a very tough game – they have been playing very well,” he said. “They like to play some good rugby.

“To go to Saracens and win is very tough and they did that – and Wasps is not an easy game either. We expect them to be full of confidence.

“It is always good fun playing against your old club and I have got some friends there.

“London Irish were very good to me and did a lot for me. I had a very bad injury and they stuck by me. I want them to do well, but obviously not against us.”

Referee: JP Doyle (74th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Roger Baileff & Paul Dix. TMO: David Sainsbury.

Live on BT Sport


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