Howard: Tigers still on prowl

Title-chasing Leicester will try to keep it business as usual as they prepare for their first match since coach Pat Howard announced his resignation. [more]

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Title-chasing Leicester will try to keep it business as usual as they prepare for their first match since coach Pat Howard announced his resignation.

Howard confirmed this week he will be leaving the Tigers at the end of the Guinness Premiership season to return to Australia for family reasons.

The announcement came with his side in good shape; second in the Premiership, on course to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals and through to the EDF Energy Cup semi-finals.

"The season is not half over yet, and the players have put a really good spirit into the club and I am excited about the rest of the season," said Howard ahead of the Tigers’ New Year’s Day clash with Saracens.

"We are all focused on that. I still want to win things."
Howard is planning to make 12 changes to the side beaten by a point by London Irish on Boxing Day for the sell-out Welford Road clash.

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Only Ben Kay, Geordan Murphy and Alesana Tuilagi retain their starting positions and all are included due to injuries elsewhere.

Murphy is at full-back because Sam Vesty has a calf injury, Tuilagi is on the wing due to Leon Lloyd’s absence and Kay is in for Louis Deacon.

The Tigers side is otherwise similar to that which beat Bristol on December 22.

Saracens director of rugby Alan Gaffney also make a number of changes with Richard Hill, Andy Farrell, Kevin Yates, Iain Fullarton and Thomas Castaignede all returning.

There are four other matches with leaders Bristol at Sale, Gloucester facing London Irish, Harlequins hosting Newcastle and bottom side Worcester travelling to Northampton.

Bristol will be largely unchanged for their trip north apart from losing Shaun Perry to injury. Perry sustained a rib problem against Bath on Wednesday and faces three weeks out. Brian O’Riordan will deputise.

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