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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Tuilagi ready to put a smile on Tigers fans' faces

Bath call up Lions to face Leicester

Manu Tuilagi in pre-season action for Leicester against Ospreys
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Aviva Premiership
BT Sport 1, 3pm Sunday

Leicester endured a tough season in 2016-17, hit hard by injuries all through the campaign and losing two coaches along the way.

But there seems to be an air of optimism at Welford Road as they prepare to kick off against Bath and the Tigers are seven-point favourites for their opening-round clash.

In past years Leicester have been busy all summer bringing in a sprinkling of mostly overseas players but this year they seem to have set their sights on two big signings, both of whom start.

George Ford returns to the club after three years at Bath and lines up alongside his England partner Ben Youngs, while England winger Jonny May, brought in from Gloucester, is also in the side.

And Manu Tuilagi, who has made just 23 appearances for the club over the last three seasons, is fit to start the season after a horrendous run of injuries.

The England centre has more to prove than most after his long absence and his public admonishment by England coach Eddie Jones. A fully-focused Tuilagi is a menace to defences and he looks worth backing at 13-5 to get on the scoresheet.

Bath are clearly looking to make an impact in this fixture and have named all three of their Lions - Taulupe Faletau, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson - in their starting 15.

The West Country club started well last season, winning seven of their first eight fixtures. The one blip was a convincing 34-14 reverse at Leicester.

M Tuilagi to score a try
1pt 13-5 Betfair, Paddy Power


George Ford returns the club after three years at Bath and lines up alongside his England partner Ben Youngs
E.W. Terms
Sky bet