Wanderers name strong side for clash with Tigers at Welford Road

The Wanderers have named a fearsome back line for their Premiership Rugby Shield clash with local rivals Leicester Tigers at Welford Road tonight (kick-off 7.30pm).

By Tom Vickers
Monday, 23rd December 2019, 2:04 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 2:18 pm
James Grayson will skipper the Wanderers at Welford Road
James Grayson will skipper the Wanderers at Welford Road

James Grayson will skipper the side from fly-half, with the likes of Ollie Sleightholme, Fraser Dingwall and Harry Mallinder also in the first 15.

Mallinder is at full-back as he gets set for more game time after making a successful return from a long-term injury against Gloucester United last Monday.

In the pack, Toby Trinder, Michael van Vuuren and Karl Garside line up in the front row.

Just behind them Lewis Bean and Devante Onojaife play in the engine room, with a back row of JJ Tonks, Ollie Newman and Tui Uru rounding off the side.

The Wanderers sit third in the Northern Conference heading into the clash, with one win and one defeat in two matches so far, but another triumph would keep the side well in the hunt for a place in the competition’s knock-out stages.

Boris Stankovich will take charge of the Leicester Tigers development squad, which will feature 14 players who have graduated from the club's Academy.

The side features five members of this year's Tigers senior squad, with Johnny McPhillips, EW Viljoen, Jimmy Stevens and Gaston Cortes all starting, as well as Joe Batley who arrived in Leicester on loan last week from Bristol Bears.

McPhillips will start at full-back alongside Leo Gilliland and Kyran Bungaroo in the outside backs, with Viljoen and Harry Glynn, who was a member of last season's U18 League-winning Academy squad, in the midfield.

Fellow Academy graduates Sam Costelow and Jack Van Poortvliet will guide the side from half-back.

In the forward pack, Stevens starts at hooker with James Whitcombe and Osman Dimen the props.

Batley, who made his club debut in round two of the Premiership Rugby Shield last Monday night away to Sale partners George Martin in the second row.

Meanwhile, Taylor Gough, Henri Lavin and Thom Smith, who were members of the Tigers Academy squad that won the U18 League title in 2017/18, start in the back row.

Smith will captain the side at No.8 with McPhillips deputising as vice-captain from full-back.

Among the replacements are Argentinian international Cortes, Keston Lines, Tom Manz and Jonny Law, who are joined by guest players Joe Brown, Nick Cairns, Tom Benjamin and Harry Mahoney.

Tickets for the game are £5 (adults) and £1 (juniors) from the ticket office at Welford Road.

All supporters will be seated in the Holland & Barrett Stand, with the concourse bar open ahead of kick-off and during the match for beverages and refreshments.

Leicester Tigers: McPhillips (vc), Gilliland, Viljoen, Glynn, Bungaroo, Costelow, Van Poortvliet; Whitcombe, Stevens, Dimen; Batley, Martin; Gough, Lavin, Smith (c)

Replacements: Brown (Army Rugby), Lines, Cortes, Manz, Cairns (Leicester Lions), Law, Benjamin (Nottingham Rugby), Mahoney (Birmingham Moseley).

Wanderers: Mallinder; Olowofela, Dingwall, Symons, Sleightholme; Grayson (c), J Mitchell; Trinder, van Vuuren, Garside; Bean, Onojaife; Tonks, Newman, Uru.

Replacements: Hughes, Iyogun, Prowse (Coventry), Langley (Hartpury), Eadie, Tupai, Strachan, Gillespie.