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Premiership Rugby

Leeds looking towards play-offs

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Fifth-placed Leicester, who are currently two points adrift of fourth-placed Leeds in the Premiership table, have endured some harsh criticism following their exit in the quarter-final of the Heineken Cup.

Their recent 17-9 loss to Harlequins at the Stoop did their cause very little good and they will no doubt want to post a stern challenge to Leeds on Saturday.

Leeds coach Phil Davies is very aware of this and believes Leicester will be looking to put on a quality performance in front of their fans.

"It says a lot for how successful the Tigers have been in recent years that people are talking about it being a bad season for them, and that is why they will be looking to silence those critics," he explained.

Leeds are also struggling with a few injury problems this week and this has meant that the starting line-up will not be announced until the morning of the game.

Coach Davies said that at this time of year players tend to pick up niggling injuries, and with so many crucial games coming up it is important that they be given as much time to recover as possible.

Davies also expressed his delight with his side's win over London Irish last week, saying: "Our defence in the second half was excellent and the team really worked hard for each other and got the right result. Hopefully that is something we can build on in the remaining weeks of the season."

The club has also received a boost with the signing of two more players for next season. England Under-21 lock Stuart Hooper will be joining from Saracens on a two-year deal and London Irish back Simon Holford, who comes in as cover for Gavin Kerr, who will return for Leeds after the Rugby World Cup in October.

Leeds Tykes (squad – 22):

Forwards: Mike Shelley (captain), Mark Regan, Rob Rawlinson, Matt Holt, Gavin Kerr, Chris Murphy, Tom Palmer, Phil Murphy, Cameron Mather, Dan Hyde, Alix Popham, Isaac Feaunati, Carl Hogg, James Ponton.

Backs: Diego Albanese, George Harder, Tristan Davies, Braam van Straaten, Chris Hall, Gordon Ross, Alan Dickens, Derek Hegarty, Craig Emmerson, Winston Stanley, Tom Rock.

Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 GMT)

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