Steve Borthwick has included four of the club’s recent additions in his debut Leicester Tigers matchday squad to face Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in round 14 of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership restart fixture on Saturday.

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The new Tigers head coach has named an all-international front row of Ellis Genge, Tom Youngs and Dan Cole, with captain Youngs making his 150th starting appearance for the club.

In the second row, Argentina international Tomas Lavanini is partnered by Calum Green, with Harry Wells included at blindside flanker. Tommy Reffell, who recently re-signed with the club, starts at openside and Jordan Taufua completes the pack at No8.

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England internationals Ben Youngs and George Ford are at half-back, with fly-half Ford named vice-captain for the trip to Sandy Park. Scotland international Matt Scott makes his Tigers debut after his move from Edinburgh and is partnered in the midfield by South Africa international Jaco Taute.

David Williams, on loan from Championship club Nottingham Rugby, is included on the wing and will make his senior debut for the club. 

The 24-year-old graduated from the Tigers academy in 2014 and has previously represented Leicester in the A League and Premiership Sevens. Fellow Academy graduates Jordan Olowofela and George Worth make up the back three. New recruits Luke Wallace and Zack Henry are in line for their debuts after being named among the replacements, while 20-year-old back row Thom Smith could make his Premiership debut after two previous appearances in the Premiership Cup.

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Internationals Jake Kerr and Nephi Leatigaga are joined on the bench by Joe Heyes as front row replacements, with Hanro Liebenberg and Ben White also included. Speaking ahead of the trip to Exeter, Borthwick said: “Everybody is excited by this opportunity to get back on the field. They [Exeter] are a very, very good side and have been a contender at the top of the table for a long time now.

“We have got to go there and put out the best performance we possibly can. That’s what we have been working towards, focusing very much on ourselves and developing our game.” Discussing his debut selection, the Tigers head coach added: “It’s an exciting team. What is pleasing to see is how many academy graduates are part of this matchday squad.

“They know Leicester, they love representing Leicester and I think that is something that has come across very strong to me; how much these players want to make our supporters very proud of this team.”

Leicester Tigers (v Exeter Chiefs, Saturday)

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15 George Worth; 14 David Williams, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Jordan Olowofela; 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (c), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomás Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Jordan Taufua.

Replacements

16 Jake Kerr, 17 Nephi Leatigaga, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Hanro Liebenberg, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Thom Smith, 22 Ben White, 23 Zack Henry.

Squad notes:

  • Matt Scott will make his Leicester Tigers debut;
  • David Williams will make his senior Leicester Tigers debut, having previously represented the club in the A League and Premiership Sevens;
  • Luke Wallace and Zack Henry are in line for their Leicester Tigers debuts;
  • Thom Smith is in line for his Premiership Rugby debut;
  • George Ford requires four points to reach 600 Premiership Rugby points;
  • Steve Borthwick will make his debut as Leicester Tigers head coach;
  • Rob Taylor and Aled Walters make their debuts as Leicester Tigers assistant coaches;
  • The matchday squad includes 13 players to have graduated from the Leicester Tigers academy.

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