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Premiership Rugby

Depleted Leicester looking for luck

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

With five first-choice forwards on duty in Australia, Richards has had to named two opensides in the back row – Will Skinner and Josh Kronfeld.

To make matters worse, the Tigers are without second rower James Hamilton for eight weeks following his suspension for stamping against Leeds last weekend.

Better news comes in the large shape of Samoan star Freddie Tuilagi, who is on the bench having recovered from the cartilage operation which has ruled him out all season.

Richards' men have now lost three consecutive games, and find themselves in the lower reaches of the table, but with so many senior players away at present, pressing the panic button is not an option.

"We're now in an unfamiliar position in the league, but I'm standing by my guns with the youngsters," Richards told the Leicester Tigers' website.

"Whatever we manage to get out of this is brilliant, and we want to make sure we help them for the future. The experience that the boys will get during this time will stand them in good stead.

"Having said that, it's disappointing that we've not won more games, and we really need to win another three before the boys come back from the World Cup."

On Saturday, Tigers host a Saints side who are lying fourth in the table after winning three of their six league games and drawing one, with Richards saying of his opponents: "Northampton are a very abrasive side, and they have a lot of power up front.

"I've always found them to be very competitive in that area, and we'll just have to see how it goes.

"Their Australian fly-half Shane Drahm is very good, as is the flanker Andrew Blowers and the back row as a whole. They can afford to have an All Black scrum-half in Mark Robinson on the bench, and he makes an impact when he comes on too.

"Just a win would be nice – over anybody. We've just got to go out there and do it now."

Leicester Tigers: 15 Steve Booth, 14 Ollie Smith, 13 Leon Lloyd, 12 Daryl Gibson, 11 John Holtby, 10 Austin Healey, 9 Harry Ellis, 8 Will Johnson, 7 Josh Kronfeld (captain), 6 Will Skinner, 5 Louis Deacon, 4 Brett Deacon, 3 Darren Morris, 2 George Chuter, 1 Graham Rowntree.Replacements: 16 Jim Richards, 17 Ricky Nebbett, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Adam Balding, 20 Henry Tuilagi, 21 Freddie Tuilagi, 22 Sam Vesty.

Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)

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