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Leicester Name Side to Face Munster
4 April 2003, 2:48 pm
Leicester have named their squad of 22 that will face Munster on Sunday. The squad sees the return of Rod Kafer and Ben Kay and the inclusion of Tom Tierney at scrum-half.
Leicester have named their squad of 22 that will face Munster on Sunday. The squad sees the return of Rod Kafer and Ben Kay and the inclusion of Tom Tierney at scrum-half.

Leicester Squad:

1 Perry Freshwater, 2 Dorian West, 3 Darren Garforth, 4 Martin Johnson , 5 Ben Kay, 6 Martin Corry, 7 Neil Back, 8 Will Johnson , 9 Tom Tierney, 10 Austin Healey, 11 Steve Booth, 12 Rod Kafer, 13 Leon Lloyd, 14 Geordan Murphy, 15 Tim Stimpson,

Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Franck Tournaire, 18 Josh Kronfeld, 19 Adam Balding, 20 Harry Ellis, 21 Sam Vesty, 22 Freddie Tuilagi.

Leicester's Director of Rugby, Dean Richards made the following points ahead of Sunday's clash:

"Lewis Moody, Ollie Smith and Graham Rowntree will not be available. Ollie is getting better week by week and Ben Kay has got over his niggle which kept him on the bench last game.

"The beauty for us is we're starting to get guys back from injury now. Rod Kafer is back now and they're all training out there today so that gives us a balanced side."

The Welford Road ground has been bustling with activity this week as the Clubhouse Stand is extended to accommodate over 800 extra fans and make the capacity crowd the biggest of the season at Welford Road. Richards reiterated the importance of holding the game at Tigers home ground.

"From Munster's point of view I don't know if it will make a difference or not but certainly from our players' perspective, this is the home of Leicester rugby. With that in mind, if we don t play the game at Welford Road it defeats the object of home advantage. I think it was the right decision.

"There are a large amount of Munster supporters coming over here and they re such an amiable bunch, as are the Leicester supporters. It will be a great atmosphere."

"I think it will be as big as any other game we have ever had at Welford Road but certainly not the biggest the team's had. We're all a bit apprehensive but it's the same going into any big game.

"The boys are pretty strong and most of them have played in big matches but they still get nervous and they know how to control that and how to use it.

It was inevitable that the talk moved onto Neil Back's hand in last year's win, but Richards said that it would be different if the shoe was on the other foot.

"People across Munster say would say that if Backy were an Irishman they d make him Mayor," he said.

Comparisons were made to England's Grand Slam win and Richards was asked if the Irish would be looking for retribution.

"I'm sure the Irish will have put the loss behind them and Munster will be concentrating solely on this. The side we put out is totally different to the side Ireland played 12 days ago. We have different weaknesses and strengths and I m sure they are confident they can exploit our weaknesses and curtail our strengths."

Richards was keen to praise the prestigious European tournament and its importance to Leicester Tigers.

"If you asked the players or myself, the Heineken Cup is the most important to win of all of them just for the standard of rugby and the competition for the players," he said. "It is probably the best club tournament in the world with a great intensity."

The team Tigers face this Sunday will be somewhat different to the team Munster put out at the Millennium Stadium last May.

"Some of the old boys have gone out but they've got some great youngsters who have come in and I think in some respects that s strengthened their side," said Richards.

"They're a very enthusiastic side and they play with a lot of passion and put a lot of pressure on the opposition. It's one of their great strengths that they have this passion that no one can seem to put a dampener on in any way shape or form.

"The pressure will be no different in some respects to Stade Francais over in Parc De Princes for the first 25 minutes, Munster last year and Ireland 12 days ago so from that point of view I think a lot of the guys are quite switched on, quite focussed and they understand how to handle that type of pressure. If you go up a point or fall a score down, there s always the opportunity to come back.

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