Former England and British and Irish Lions prop Dan Cole is poised to make his 250th appearance for Leicester Tigers in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership clash with Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop.
The 33-year-old Cole is named on the bench and, when he takes to the field, he will move to within one appearance of Martin Corry in third place on the club’s all-time list.
“Dan has been a crucial part of the Tigers club for almost a decade and a half and this achievement is something he should be very proud of reaching,” said head coach Steve Borthwick.
“All of us, players, coaches and staff at Tigers, are looking forward to seeing Dan take to the field on Saturday and continuing to see him represent our club in the future.
“He is a great example of the toughness and professionalism we value in Leicester.”
At the other end of the age scale, forwards George Martin and Joe Heyes are among no fewer than 10 academy graduates in Borthwick’s match-day squad.
“George Martin and Joe Heyes are exciting young players and Tigers academy graduates who have pushed their way into the top squad through hard work and commitment,” Borthwick said.
“Both have made significant strides forward in recent seasons and been rewarded with being picked in the England shadow squad, which was well earned by the pair.”
Second row Matt Symons will make his 50th appearance for Harlequins while Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has mixed emotions over the availability of prop Harry Williams, who is recalled for the visit of London Irish following his release from the England squad.
“It’s one of those bittersweet things because the reality is we all kind of feel for Harry when he gets brought out the international environment because we all rate him very highly here,” said Baxter.
“Our preference would much be for him to be with England. We know he is desperate to play as high a level of rugby as he can and desperate to play for England.
“It feels great for us on a team perspective to have him back in our side but there is always that hint of disappointment when one of your players who is currently in the international environment gets dropped back out of it.”
The champions return to Sandy Park buoyed by back-to-back wins on the road against Worcester and Newcastle.
Northampton’s home game against Newcastle has been called off after the Falcons reported a number of positive Covid-19 tests.
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