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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Leicester focused on denying Newcastle in battle for playoff berth

Returning internationals a boost for Tigers

Newcastle winger Sinoti Sinoti can find no way through the Leicester defence
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Aviva Premiership
BT Sport 1, 7.45pm

With just two rounds of the regular season remaining this clash has been dubbed an unofficial quarter-final between the sides sitting fourth and fifth.

Leicester had looked in the playoff driving seat in the race for playoff berths until last week's shock home defeat to Northampton. The Tigers had been 15-point favourites and, while their local rivals played well, there looked to be some complacency in the Leicester ranks.

It would be a surprise to see anything other than a fully focused Tigers side for this crucial match as they take on a Newcastle outfit who have lost just two of their last 12 league matches, dating back to the start of December.

The home side are boosted by the return of England internationals Ben Youngs and Manu Tuilagi from injury and have also had a fortnight to prepare for this game, while Newcastle were in action last weekend in the European Challenge Cup semi-final.

The Falcons were beaten by Gloucester in that match and may be feeling the after-effects and disappointment of that loss as they go looking for the first victory at Welford Road in 20 years.

There have been some hefty defeats in that time but Newcastle pose an attacking threat with former Leicester man Vereniki Goneva and Sinoti Sinoti on the wings and they have scored more tries on the road than at home this season.

There's likely to be rain in the air which could favour the Leicester pack, but it's unlikely to be a runaway victory.

Recommendation
Leicester to win by one to 12 points
2pts 7-4 Coral, Ladbrokes

There's likely to be rain in the air which could favour the Leicester pack
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