Nadolo set for debut as Leicester name much-changed team to face London Irish
Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick has made 14 changes to the matchday squad for Wednesday evening’s Gallagher Premiership game against London Irish at Welford Road, a reshuffle that includes a club debut for new signing Nemani Nadolo.
Tigers academy graduates Harry Wells and Calum Green make up the second row with Hanro Liebenberg included at blindside flanker for his first start since the Premiership resumed. He is alongside Tommy Reffell and Jordan Taufua.
Ben Youngs and George Ford return at half-back with fellow international pairing Matt Scott and Jaco Taute in the midfield. Nadolo will make his highly-anticipated debut for Leicester while David Williams, who made his senior club debut away to Exeter in round 14, is on the other wing.
Academy graduate Freddie Steward is at full-back in his first starting appearance of the resumed 2019/20 campaign. Included among the replacements is Charlie Clare, who scored his first Tigers try in last weekend’s outing at Welford Road, and is joined by Joe Heyes and Nephi Leatigaga as front row cover.
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George Martin is in line for his second Premiership appearance after impressing in his debut on Saturday, with Luke Wallace the other forward on the bench. Backs replacements are Tigers Academy graduates Ben White and Jordan Olowofela, as well as recent addition Zack Henry.
Borthwick said: “Every day you have got to find ways to learn. When you have short turnarounds and midweek games, a lot of that learning is off the field, so we need to make sure we maximise those opportunities. Preparation has gone well and we are really looking forward to the game.
“The players are excited about it and the opportunity to get back on to the field. It’s exciting to see Nemani Nadolo in his first game for Leicester Tigers, he has worked exceptionally hard over a number of weeks. It’s also great to see someone like George Martin, who played exceptionally well on Saturday, on the bench this week to finish the game.”
For London Irish, Ben Meehan and Paddy Jackson are chosen to start at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, but there is no return for Sean O’Brien who skippered the team in the 2019/20 restart loss at Bath. That was only the former Ireland international’s second appearance for the club after he signed in 2019 and he is now unavailable once more.
LEICESTER TIGERS: 15. Freddie Steward; 14. David Williams, 13, Jaco Taute, 12. Matt Scott, 11. Nemani Nadolo; 10. George Ford, 9. Ben Youngs; 1. Ellis Genge, 2. Tom Youngs (capt), 3. Dan Cole, 4. Harry Wells, 5. Calum Green, 6. Hanro Liebenberg, 7. Tommy Reffell, 8. Jordan Taufua. Reps: 16. Charlie Clare, 17. Nephi Leatigaga, 18. Joe Heyes, 19. George Martin, 20. Luke Wallace, 21. Ben White, 22. Zack Henry, 23. Jordan Olowofela.
LONDON IRISH: 15. Tom Homer; 14. Tom Parton, 13. Curtis Rona, 12. Terrence Hepetema, 11. Ollie Hassell-Collins; 10. Paddy Jackson, 9. Ben Meehan; 1. Harry Elrington, 2. Motu Matu’u, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. George Nott, 5. Sebastian de Chaves, 6. Ben Donnell, 7. Blair Cowan (capt), 8. Albert Tuisue. Reps: 16. Matt Cornish, 17. Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18. Lovejoy Chawatama, 19. Jack Cooke, 20. TJ Ioane, 21. Rory Brand, 22. Jacob Atkins, 23. Ross Neal.
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