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Double Bok blow for table topping Leicester Tigers

By Chris Jones
Marco Van Staden /PA

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Head coach Steve Borthwick, already without five England players, must now maintain Leicester’s seven game unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership against Bath on Friday night without the Springbok pair of Marco van Staden and Jasper Wiese, who were outstanding in the 55-26 thumping of Northampton.

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In just three and half Premiership games since returning from the Springboks’ Rugby Championship campaign, the tireless van Staden has made 62 tackles in Leicester colours while Wiese hammered into the Northampton defence and despite a yellow card, made 11 tackles, 15 carries and covered 74 metres with ball in hand. Wiese and van Staden are linking up with the Springboks squad in preparation for the tests with Wales on Saturday, Scotland ( Nov 13) and England (Nov 20).

Patently, the physicality the Bok pair bring to the Leicester pack is critical which makes their absence from next weekend’s line up against struggling Bath a difficult to cover with the Tigers squad already operating without captain Ellis Genge, Freddie Steward, Ben Youngs, George Martin and Nic Dolly.

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Borthwick said: “You don’t replace players of the quality of Marco and Jasper and we will bring in players with other strengths and we have to play to those strengths. Each week we try and put in performance that we can be proud of and that our supporters can be proud of and that is what we are striving for. The team will change again for Friday night and more players are going to get opportunities and we have to be better than we were against Northampton. There’s plenty to get better about.”

With England ignoring the brilliant form of George Ford, he will be leading the team against Bath having become only the eighth player to reach 1,500 points in Premiership Rugby on the way to an individual 20-point haul against Northampton which took him past Jonny Wilkinson in the all time Premiership list. Former Sale and Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson is the only player to reach that mark younger than 28-year-old Ford who has scored exactly 800 of those points in 79 appearances during two spells with Tigers since coming through the club’s academy.

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