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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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Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
4
Average Points scored
18
30
First try wins
60%
Home team wins
40%
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Comments

1 Comment
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Brunhildes 243 days ago

I’m still staggered at how many were writing Leicester off, before the World Cup players started coming back and clicking.

This is, after all, a team that lost its entire coaching staff and still made the semis last year.

I’m still backing us to hit the top 4 again.

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