London Irish have named their team to face Leicester on Sunday in the historic first rugby match to take place at their new Brentford Community Stadium home following the conclusion of their long-term residency in Reading. 

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Allan Dell, Agustin Creevy and Sekope Kepu start at front row with George Nott and Andrei Mahu at lock. Sean O’Brien and Blair Cowan have been chosen at flanker with Matt Rogerson skippering from No8.

Ben Meehan and Paddy Jackson are the half-back duos, with Billy Meakes and Curtis Rona in midfield. Ollie Hassell-Collins, Ben Loader and Tom Homer form an unchanged back three.

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In the replacements, there is a welcome return from injury for Steve Mafi, who hasn’t featured for the Exiles since before the 2019/20 season restart.

“Sunday is a momentous day for the club. The squad, the staff and the coaches are all delighted and proud to be involved in this stadium move” said Declan Kidney, director of rugby, about the fresh start for Irish at Brentford.

We are a club with a 122-year history, so to be a part of the move is a real honour. It’s now up to us to put in a performance on the pitch to remember the occasion by.”

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Irish, who were beaten at Worcester in last weekend’s opening round Premiership game, welcome a Leicester team that has Matt Scott, Jordan Taufua and Nephi Leatigaga back on board after their win over Gloucester. 

Head coach Steve Borthwick said: “London Irish are a good side with a very experienced coaching team and I’m sure they will want to start well in their new stadium. We take your lessons from every game and our focus is on what we need to do to improve each week.”

LONDON IRISH: 15 Tom Homer; 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins; 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ben Meehan; 1 Allan Dell, 2 Agustin Creevy, 3 Sekope Kepu, 4 George Nott, 5 Andrei Mahu, 6 Seán O’Brien, 7 Blair Cowan, 8 Matt Rogerson (capt). Reps: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ollie Hoskins, 19 Chunya Munga, 20 Steve Mafi, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Theo Brophy Clews, 23 Tom Parton. 

LEICESTER TIGERS: 15 Freddie Steward; 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Harry Potter; 10 Zack Henry, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Ryan Bower, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Harry Wells, 5 Calum Green, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Cyle Brink, 8 Jasper Wiese. Reps: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Tommy Reffell, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Ben White, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Guy Porter.

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