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Leicester name team for weekend

12 December 2003

Tigers director of rugby Dean Richards has named his team for Sunday's Heineken Cup match against the Dragons at Welford Road (kick-off 3pm), giving a debut to South African fullback Jaco van der Westhuyzen.

The Springbok star starts in a team which also sees comebacks for England stars Ben Kay and Lewis Moody at lock and blindside flanker respectively, while hooker Dorian West is another returnee in the pack.

Martin Corry shifts from blindside to No.8 to accommodate Moody's return, while there are also changes to the three-quarter line.

Leon Lloyd returns from an ankle injury to start at outside centre, a move which sees Ollie Smith push out to the left wing.

Richards said of new signing and debutant Van der Westhuyzen: "Jaco has a bit of everything - flair, pace and good hands. He's one of the best attacking fullbacks in world rugby at the moment, and I'm looking forward to seeing him play."

Tigers opened their Heineken Cup campaign with a 26-15 defeat at Stade Francais last Saturday, with Richards saying: "Last week in Paris was disappointing, with one try being given that wasn't a try and then us gifting Stade Francais another in the second half. We didn't get the rub of the green with some of the refereeing decisions, but that sometimes happens.

"Sam Vesty's try was outstanding, with Ramiro Pez putting Daryl Gibson into a gap, and Ollie Smith hitting Sam with an overhead pass. Then there was Ramiro's try in the second half which was well taken after he saw that Diego Dominguez had drifted across."

Of Sunday's opposition, Richards said: "Gwent are a quality side with a competitive pack. They have key individuals such as Peter Sidoli, James Forster and Gareth Baber, and they've formed a side that can win games.

"Our confidence is high, and we're not that far from playing outstanding rugby, but we have to win games in the Heineken Cup - you can't afford to drop points in this competition, be it at home or away."

Tigers team to face the Dragons:

15 Jaco van der Westhuyzen

14 Neil Baxter

13 Leon Lloyd

12 Daryl Gibson

11 Ollie Smith

10 Ramiro Pez

1 Graham Rowntree

2 Dorian West

3 Julian White

4 Martin Johnson

5 Ben Kay

6 Lewis Moody

7 Neil Back �

8 Martin Corry




16 Jim Richards

17 Darren Morris

18 Louis Deacon

19 Adam Balding

20 Tom Tierney

21 Freddie Tuilagi

22 Sam Vesty