Melville wary of wounded Leicester pride

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The Independent Online

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Melville has warned his side to beware of John Wells' wounded Tigers during tomorrow's Zurich Premiership showdown at Welford Road.

Leicester were defeated 23-8 by the French big guns Biarritz in the Heineken Cup last weekend and Melville believes they will be aiming to erase the pain of that result with a winning return to league action.

"A lot has been made of Leicester's performance in Biarritz but the French side are a fine team," Melville said. "Biarritz would have been smarting over their showing at Wasps the previous week, and I'm sure Leicester will be the same this week. We're certainly not reading anything into it."

Gloucester have won the team's last three meetings, including a 20-15 victory at Welford Road in November 2002, but Melville insists those results will have little meaning today. "It's all gone, it's in the past. We don't live in the past - whether it was a win or loss. Yes, we won there for the first time in a long time last season, but we move on," he said.

Melville hands the winger James Bailey his club debut and also restores the flanker Jake Boer, the second row Mark Cornwell and the centre Nathan Mauger to the starting line-up.

Leicester make seven changes after suffering a raft of injuries but one plus is the return of the Lion Martin Corry to the back row.

Corry was suspended for two weeks after being found guilty of reckless use of the boot on the Bath hooker Jonathan Humphreys during last month's 16-16 draw and the England No 8 is eager to make his comeback. "The break hasn't been ideal but it's up to me to prove that it's had no effect on me whatsoever. Yes, I would've liked to have played the last two games, but I haven't," he said.

"It's just one of those things but I've got to take it and it's now up to me to prove that I'm back and better for it."

The Bath coach John Connolly insisted his Premiership runners-up have their minds focused on today's match with Saracens at Franklin's Gardens - despite the off-field controversy shrouding the club.

The former England footballer Stan Collymore claimed he was beaten up by a group of Bath players outside a fast-food restaurant in Dublin during the early hours of Sunday.

The matter is under investigation by Irish police and Connolly said: "I am pleased with the way that the players have kept their focus this week."

With Matt Perry, Lee Best and Robbie Fleck injured and Brendon Daniel facing a race against time to recover from a dead leg, Connolly has decided to give Frikkie Welsh his club debut. Welsh arrived in the UK three days ago after signing from the Blue Bulls, winners of the Currie Cup, and takes his place on the wing.

Saracens have also been hit by injuries, prompting the coach Rod Kafer to delay announcing his team until today.

London Irish will be looking to put further distance between themselves and 11th place Worcester when they host the Warriors in the weekend's remaining fixture at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow.

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