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Premiership Rugby

Leicester call up all their England stars

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The Tigers have had a rough time in their stars' absence and find themselves in a lowly and uncharacteristic ninth position in the league.

The immediate return of the 'magnificent seven' is a clear indication that Richards intends to stop the rot dead in its tracks.

England captain Martin Johnson is among the replacements, as are flanker Neil Back and hooker Dorian West.

Ben Kay packs down in the second row having, started the Rugby World Cup Final in Sydney only seven days earlier, whilst Lewis Moody and Martin Corry start at openside and blindside flanker respectively, having been on the bench for the historic victory over Australia.

"All of our World Cup players are very keen to be involved this weekend," said Richards.

"With Stewart Campbell being concussed at Rotherham last Saturday, we knew we'd have to play one of our England locks, so that's why Ben is in."

Tighthead prop Julian White is the other RWC winner to start against Bath. White will be making his Tigers debut having joined from Bristol in the summer.

Elsewhere in the side, Neil Baxter and John Holtby return to the wings after injury.

Tom Tierney takes the place of Harry Ellis who has received a seven-week ban for striking Sale Sharks' wing Steve Hanley with his head during their Powergen Cup sixth round tie on November 15.

A shoulder injury prevents Tigers skipper and former All Black Josh Kronfeld from taking the field in his last week in England before returning to his homeland.

"Josh has given everything for the club, been an incredibly popular member of the squad and done a tremendous amount of work with the younger players," said Richards.

"He's led from the front, on and off the field.

"I know he would have loved to have played his last match in front of a packed Welford Road, but sadly that hasn't been possible. He's had a niggling shoulder injury for the last few weeks and it hasn't cleared up."

In Kronfeld's absence, loosehead prop Graham Rowntree captains the side, while Welsh hooker Jim Richards keeps his place after his stay at the club was extended until the end of the season.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Austin Healey, 14 Neil Baxter, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Daryl Gibson, 11 John Holtby, 10 Ramiro Pez, 9 Tom Tierney, 8 Adam Balding, 7 Lewis Moody, 6 Martin Corry, 5 Ben Kay, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Julian White, 2 Jim Richards, 1 Graham Rowntree (captain).Replacements: 16 Dorian West, 17 Darren Morris, 18 Martin Johnson, 19 Neil Back, 20 Henry Tuilagi, 21 Glenn Gelderbloom, 22 Sam Vesty.

Kick-off: 15.00 GMT

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