Leicester Tigers face the daunting prospect of hosting Gallagher Premiership high-flyers Exeter Chiefs this Saturday, as they aim to get their domestic season started. 

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With one win from their opening five matches, Geordan Murphy will hope that his side’s season kickstarts against third-place Exeter.

He has named a strong side to do so, but one area of the team that fans have been discussing is the back row and the balance of the starting trio. 

Calum Green packs down at blindside flanker, Jordan Taufua at openside and Sione Kalamafoni at No8 in what makes up a heavy back row to counter the Chiefs’ traditionally strong pack. 

These choices have raised some questions as Green is a recognised lock and while such a transition does work, the 21-year-old Sam Lewis seems to have caught the attention in recent weeks after his showings in the Challenge Cup. 

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Lewis has started Leicester’s last three matches in Europe, one in the second row and two as a number six, and has impressed, but he has failed to make the matchday squad against the Chiefs to some fans’ dismay. 

Furthermore, some want to see Taufua at No8 and Kalamafoni at blindside, although each player is equally as comfortable in their starting position on Saturday.  

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But with the questions mounting regarding the selection of the team, the Tigers took to social media with this tongue-in-cheek response:

“So, what happens is… the coaching staff meet with medical staff, assess any players unavailable and rule them out if need be, then they review previous matches, train during the week and – finally – select the side they believe is the best balanced for the weekend. #simples” 

While there will be a certain degree of concern among Leicester fans given the fact that they are only eleventh in the table due to Saracens’ point deduction, this is a timely reminder that the coaching staff have to be trusted in this situation.

This fixture was the opening game of last season, in which a 40-6 loss at Sandy Park saw Matt O’Connor lose his job, and Leicester fans will hope Murphy’s decisions pay off on Saturday at Welford Road. 

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