Manu Tuilagi ruled out of Leicester Tigers’ clash with Harlequins
Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of Leicester Tigers' clash with Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins at Welford Road this afternoon.
The inside-centre has picked up a knock and his absence could be an important loss for Tigers going into the repeat of last season's Premiership final.
Although the club were unable to confirm what the injury was, or the extent of it, it is believed it is not a long-term problem.
It means that Matt Smith takes over from Tuilagi, pictured, for his first Premiership start of the season alongside Anthony Allen.
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Jordan Crane, who missed most of last season after having surgery on an on-going knee injury, will also make his first league start when he leads out Tigers this afternoon, with a kick-off 5.30pm.
The No.8, who has been on the bench for all three of Tigers' opening Premiership fixtures, has been named captain in the absence of Geordan Murphy, who suffered a knee injury in the 9-9 draw against Saracens at Wembley last weekend.
This means Scott Hamilton reverts to full-back in place of Murphy, with Niall Morris filling in on the wing.
Props Logovi'i Mulipola and Dan Cole make up the last of the changes as they make way for Boris Stankovich and Martin Castrogiovanni, who start in the front-row alongside hooker Tom Youngs.
Summer signing Adam Thompstone could make his Tigers debut as the winger has been included among the replacements.
Top-of-the-table Harlequins make three changes to the side that defeated Sale Sharks 37-14 last weekend.
Matt Hopper starts at outside-centre, replacing George Lowe who took a knock during training this week.
In the forwards, Olly Kohn returns to partner George Robson in the second-row, while Maurie Fa'asavalu joins Nick Easter and captain Chris Robshaw in the back-row.