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Premiership Rugby

Healey in at fullback for Wasps encounter

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

Healey takes the No.15 shirt from Steve Booth, who is struggling with an ankle injury.

"Playing Austin at fullback gives another dimension to our play. He seems to be back to his best, and should enjoy the time and space at the back," said coach Dean Richards to leicestertigers.com.

US Eagle Dan Lyle is straight back into action after returning from the Rugby World Cup, while Will Johnson misses out with an Achilles injury.

"It's nice to have Dan. He's a quality player, as you'd expect, and he's keen to get involved – we're delighted he's here," said Richards.

Jim Richards starts at hooker after George Chuter went off with a nose injury at Bath last Saturday, while England Sevens star Neil Baxter gets his first Zurich Premiership start on the right-wing after coming on as a late replacement against Bath.

Having been beaten 31-17 at Bath last week to record a record fifth successive defeat, Richards said in the build-up to this weekend's clash with Wasps: "I wouldn't exactly say we're buoyant. There were a lot of things came out of the Bath game – it was top versus third from bottom.

"At this moment in time we're starting to sort our scrums out and get better in the line outs, so that we have a base to work from."

Of Saturday's opponents, he added: "We know it's not going to be easy against a Wasps side on a bit of a roll at the moment, but at the same time we have the confidence of knowing that our first phase possession is going well.

"It would be difficult to turn around and say that Wasps weren't worthy winners of the Premiership last season.

"Everybody knew what the league structure was at the start of the season, they came out and finished in the top three and then won the Final.

"Gloucester also knew the position they were in and have to accept that they came second in the championship.

"Wasps have lost some of their experienced players to the World Cup, and the loss of Simon Shaw this week I think will affect them. But they've got a quality backline and some experience in the forwards with guys like Craig Dowd, Trevor Leota and Paul Volley."

Fly-half Ramiro Pez gets a second successive start, with Richards saying of the former Rotherham star: "His kicking, whether it be out of hand, place kicking or drop-goals has always been excellent. We've known that for a while, but he's just had to adapt parts of his game to suit the Leicester style."

Tigers find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being second-bottom in the table, but Richards is refusing to throw in the towel, saying: "It's frustrating where we are at the moment. But for the bounce of a ball or the odd refereeing decision then we perhaps wouldn't be there.

"We're not getting help from anybody, and everyone's here to knock us because of our success over the last few years.

"But we have to accept it. It's not through a lack of hard work and endeavour, the boys are working very hard and we're improving each week, even though the results might not show it. Hopefully this week we'll turn it round."

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

Kick-off: 15.00 GMT


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