Leicester Tigers team news: Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi, Steve Mafi all out for their clash with Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road
Leicester Tigers will be without both centres Anthony Allen and Manu Tuilagi, plus flanker Steve Mafi, for their clash with Exeter Chiefs at Welford Road this afternoon.
Tuilagi has still not recovered from his shoulder injury, despite Tigers' director of rugby Richard Cockerill being optimistic earlier in the week that he would be fit for the encounter.
Mafi and Allen, who have started all four of Tigers' Aviva Premiership games this season, both picked up knocks in Tigers' 22-9 defeat at the hands of champions Harlequins last weekend.
Tigers face an Exeter side that did the double over them in the Premiership last season, and have actually come away the victors in their past three meetings.
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Allen's absence means that summer signing Dan Bowden will make his debut at centre alongside Matt Smith, who retains his place with Tuilagi still missing.
There is a return for Thomas Waldrom at No.8 as captain Jordan Crane moves into the back-row to blindside flanker to take the place of the injured Mafi.
Tigers also name an all-change front-row with George Chuter replacing Tom Youngs at hooker, while props Logovi'i Mulipola and Dan Cole come in for Boris Stankovich and Martin Castrogiovanni respectively from the Harlequins game.
Cockerill said that players and staff have all been very honest about the performance against Quins last week.
He said: "The only way we know to correct that is to work hard in training and to front-up again this afternoon.
"Exeter had an excellent win last week and they are a team to be respected," he said.
"They're tough opponents and they've added to their game again this season.
"We've played some decent rugby in the season so far and we've been resilient in defence but we need to be more accurate and composed on the ball."
The injuries to Allen and Mafi follow the news yesterday that hooker Rob Hawkins will be sidelined for between six and eight weeks due to a broken thumb that he picked up in training.
Ed Slater is also included in the matchday squad for the first time this season after recovering from a knee injury.
Exeter, meanwhile, make two changes to the side that defeated Saracens 14-12 last weekend.
England international Tom Johnson comes in to replace back-row forward James Phillips, who injured his knee in the encounter and is set for a long spell on the sidelines.
The only other change comes in the backs, where Kiwi centre Jason Shoemark returns at the expense of Phil Dollman. His inclusion alongside Sireli Naqelevuki means summer signing Ian Whitten is switched to the right-wing.