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Leicester name team for East Midlands derby

19 December 2003

Tigers director of rugby Dean Richards has named his side to take on Northampton Saints in Saturday's televised Zurich Premiership clash at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 2.45pm).
Glenn Gelderbloom gets a start at inside centre, alongside Leon Lloyd, as Tigers are forced into a back line reshuffle by the absence of Ollie Smith and Daryl Gibson, who are both involved in the England v New Zealand Barbarians match at Twickenham later the same day.

That game also sees Martin Corry miss out for Tigers, meaning a recall to the blindside for fit-again Will Johnson, who played for the development team against Rotherham at Welford Road on Monday night.

Freddie Tuilagi comes in on the left wing, while South African Jaco van der Westhuyzen is again at fullback after an impressive debut in last Sunday's Heineken Cup win over the Dragons.

In the pack, hooker Dorian West misses out with a knee injury, which will require surgery, while tighthead prop Julian White plays one last game before himself going under the knife for a knee injury.

On the bench, Dan Hipkiss is included only a week after the centre helped England claim the South African leg of the International Rugby Board Sevens circuit, having also represented his country in Dubai the previous week.

Director of rugby Richards said ahead of the game: "We were delighted with last weekend's performance against Gwent, with the defence being firm and not conceding any tries.

"Losing players to the New Zealand Barbarians match was something we could have done without, but you can never truly devalue any Leicester v Northampton fixture, and there are still enough quality players on both teams to make this a great derby match.

"Jaco van der Westhuyzen is again involved, and I thought he acquitted himself very well on his debut last week. While it will take time for him to gel with his team-mates, some of his touches were certainly very good."

With a sell-out crowd sure for the East Midlands showdown, Richards said of the Franklin's Gardens experience: "It's a great surface and always a superb atmosphere down there. For us this is a must-win game if we want to get our league season back on track."

Tigers team to face Northampton Saints:

15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen
14 Neil Baxter
13 Leon Lloyd
12 Glenn Gelderbloom
11 Freddie Tuilagi
10 Ramiro Pez
9 Austin Healey

1 Graham Rowntree
2 Jim Richards
3 Julian White
4 Martin Johnson
5 Ben Kay
6 Will Johnson
7 Neil Back �
8 Adam Balding

Replacements:

16 George Chuter
17 Darren Morris
18 Louis Deacon
19 Will Skinner
20 Tom Tierney
21 Dan Hipkiss
22 Sam Vesty