Leicester Tigers call on experienced trio for Llanelli Scarlets trip
Senior trio Tom Croft, Thomas Waldrom and Geordan Murphy could all play some part in Leicester Tigers’ deciding LV= Cup pool game at Llanelli Scarlets, on Sunday.
While all three are unlikely to start, their probable involvement off the bench shows director of rugby Richard Cockerill is keen to have experience to call upon if Tigers need a win to reach the semi-finals.
They will know exactly what is required by the time they kick off at the Parc Y Scarlets with Pool Two leaders Sale Sharks playing at Wasps 24 hours earlier.
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If Sale pick up a bonus-point win at Adams Park, they will top the group whatever Tigers do. But if they return with anything less, Tigers could edge them out and continue the defence of their title.
“There is an opportunity to get into the semi-finals again but the important thing for us is to win,” said Cockerill.
“If that gets us to the last four, then great. If not, it’s important to keep the momentum going on the back of nine games without defeat.
“We want to keep that winning habit and go into the London Welsh game in the Premiership on the back of another good performance.
“We will send pretty much the same team down to the Scarlets as we beat Wasps with last week. We don’t have a huge amount of choice.
“And with another week’s training under our belt, we will be less rusty and hopefully, a bit smoother.
“Tom Croft has bruising in his back but we hope he will take some part in the game.
“It’s important that we give him a bit of playing time, especially with Steve Mafi’s injury. At the same time, we have to manage his neck properly.
“Geordan Murphy will be involved too. We are hoping to get him some game time off the bench.
“And Thomas Waldrom may be involved with us on the bench because we haven’t got many back-rowers left over and Tommy needs a bit of run.”
The second row is another area where Leicester are short on resources and Cockerill confirmed that 19-year-old Harry Wells would be a likely starter with Rob Andrew in the lock positions after being released from England Under-20s duty.
Wells gets his chance after Tom Price’s injury on Saturday and Cockerill paid tribute to the staff at the Leicester Royal Infirmary for their efforts following the 20-year-old’s nasty knock to the head.
“Tom was very well looked after,” he said. “We had all the right scans and X-rays and, thankfully, given the way the injury looked at the time, it is just concussion.
“He is a little bit groggy, but he is doing pretty well and should be fit to play again in the next week or two.”