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Leicester celebrate milestones as Los Pumas skipper returns

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 20: Julián Montoya of Argentina during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 semi-final match between Argentina and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

Leicester Tigers have named Julián Montoya to start and skipper the side when they travel to Kingsholm to take on Gloucester Rugby on Saturday.

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The Argentina captain returns to play for the first time since turning out for his country at the Rugby World Cup in France, when Los Pumas had a disappointing exit at the hands of New Zealand in the semi final then had to play against England in the third place playoff. They ultimately lost that game 26-23, ending fourth in the tournament.

“Julian’s a world class player and a real leader on and off the field so it’s great to have him back in the team,” said the club.

Leicester and Gloucester will compete for The Slater Cup in honour of Ed Slater, who captained both sides before retiring from rugby in July 2022 due to a diagnosis of motor neurone disease.

“Gloucester away, Saturday afternoon, playing for Ed Slater, who means so much to both clubs: these games always have a bit of extra feeling in them so we’re excited for the challenge.”

Jasper Wiese, who made more carries in Round 6 than any other player (21), has made 44 carries in two appearances this season and will make his 50th Premiership appearance.

Fullback Freddie Steward meanwhile makes his 50th Premiership start.

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It’ll be a big occasion for centre Matt Scott too, earning his first start of the season and against his former club.

Flanker Hanro Liebenberg is tied for 2nd on the top scorers list so far this season with four tries, and is also just one try away from 100 points for the Tigers.

Fly-half Handre Pollard scored a round-high total of 16 points against Northampton Saints and of the players who have kicked at goal so far this season, he has averaged the most points per 80 minutes (13).

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Leicester Tigers:

15 Freddie Steward, 14 Josh Bassett, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 James Cronin, 2 Julián Montoya (c), 3 Joe Heyes, 4 Cameron Henderson, 5 Ollie Chessum, 6 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Jasper Wiese

Replacements:

16 Charlie Clare, 17 James Whitcombe, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Harry Wells, 20 Matt Rogerson, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Solomone Kata [3]

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Santi Carreras, 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Seb Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley, 10. George Barton, 9. Stephen Varney; 1. Mayco Vivas, 2. George McGuigan, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Freddie Clarke, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Freddie Thomas, 7. Lewis Ludlow (captain), 8. Jack Clement

Replacements:

16. Santi Socino, 17. Harry Elrington, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Arthur Clark, 20. Ben Donnell, 21. Micky Young, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Louis Hillman-Cooper

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Draws
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Wins
5
Average Points scored
17
32
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
40%
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Red and White Dynamight 2 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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