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George Ford back for Leicester Tigers Challenge Cup clash

Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford

Leicester Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick has welcomed back the trio of George Ford, Tommy Reffell and Jaco Taute for Sunday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Castres.

Ford, Reffell and Taute missed the Premiership win over Northampton Saints last weekend, but come into the line-up with Ellis Genge after derby day delight.

An England pairing of Ford and Ben Youngs slot in to the half-backs, as the midfield sees Taute start outside of centre partner Matt Scott.

Emerging Welshman Reffell returns to match fitness after a knee issue kept him out of Tigers’ past four matches.

The quarter-final marks Leicester’s first European knockout game in four years; the last coming in the Champions Cup semi-final at home to Racing 92 who narrowly progressed to the final with a 19-16 win.

The Top 14 visitors to Welford Road this time around have tasted defeat and victory in the start to their league campaign, unable to maintain their 100% record by losing 22-16 to Stade Francais last Sunday.

Castres are led by scrum-half Rory Kockott who starts alongside Benjamin Urdapilleta in the half-backs.

Florian Vialelle and Thomas Combezou form the midfield while Filipo Nakosi, Geoffrey Palis and Julien Dumora complete the backline as a dangerous back three.

Up front Antoine Tichit is joined in the front-row by Matthew Tierney and Gaetan Barlot while Canada international Tyler Ardron starts at number eight.


Leicester Tigers v Castres (Sunday, 3pm kick-off)

Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Kini Murimurivalu, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Tom Youngs (capt), 3 Dan Cole, 4 Tomas Lavanini, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Tommy Reffell, 8 Hanro Liebenberg

Replacements: 16 Charlie Clare, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nephi Leatigaga, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Ben White, 22 Zack Henry, 23 Harry Potter

Castres: 15 Julien Dumora, 14 Geoffrey Palis, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Florian Vialelle, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 9 Rory Kockott (capt); 1 Antoine Tichit, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 3 Matthew Tierney, 4 Ryno Pieterse, 5 Hans N’Kinsi, 6 Baptiste Delaporte, 7 Kevin Kornath, 8 Tyler Ardron

Replacements: 16 Pierre Colonna, 17 Julius Nostadt, 18 Wilfrid Hounkpatin, 19 Dorian Clerc, 20 Mathieu Babillot, 21 Maama Vaipulu, 22 Bastien Guillemin, 23 Vilimoni Botitu

Bristol Bears v Dragons (Friday, 7.45pm kick-off)

Bristol: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Piers O’Conor, 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren; 1 Jake Woolmore, 2 Harry Thacker, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Dave Attwood, 5 Chris Vui, 6 Steven Luatua (capt), 7 Ben Earl, 8 Nathan Hughes

Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Dan Thomas, 21 Harry Randall, 22 Max Malins, 23 Alapati Leiua

Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jonah Holmes, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Rhodri Williams (capt); 1 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 3 Leon Brown, 4 Joe Davies, 5 Matthew Screech, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Harrison Keddie, 8 Ross Moriarty,

Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Joe Maksymiw, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Adam Warren

Bordeaux-Begles v Edinburgh (Saturday, 1.30pm kick-off)

Bordeaux-Bègles: 15 Nans Ducuing, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Jean-Baptiste Dubié, 12 Ulupano Seuteni, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Yann Lesgourgues; 1 Jefferson Poirot (capt), 2 Clement Maynadier, 3 Vadim Cobilas, 4 Kane Douglas, 5 Jandré Marais, 6 Mahamadou Diaby, 7 Guido Petti, 8 Marco Tauleigne

Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Lekso Kaulashvili, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Maxime Lucu, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Pablo Uberti

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 James Johnstone, 12 George Taylor, 11 Damien Hoyland, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Charlie Shiel; 1 Pierre Schoeman, 2 Stuart McInally (capt), 3 Simon Berghan, 4 Ben Toolis, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 Hamish Watson, 8 Viliame Mata

Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Murray McCallum, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Magnus Bradbury, 21 Nick Haining, 22 Dan Nutton, 23 Chris Dean

Toulon v Scarlets (Saturday, 9.15pm kick-off)

Toulon: 15 Daniel Ikpefan, 14 Masivesi Dakuwaqa, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Gabin Villière, 10 Baptiste Serin, 9 Tane Takulua; 1 Jean Baptiste-Gros, 2 Anthony Etrillard (capt), 3 Beka Gigashvili, 4 Swan Rebbadj, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 6 Charles Ollivon, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 8 Sergio Parisse

Replacements: 16 Bastien Soury, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Erwan Dridi, 20 Brian Alainu’uese, 21 Julien Ory, 22 Louis Carbonel, 23 Facundo Isa

Scarlets: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni

Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan

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