Tiesi set for first Exiles start
November 30, 2007

Gonzalo Tiesi, London Irish's exciting Argentine centre, makes his first start of the season in the club's EDF Energy Cup match with Worcester Warriors at Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

Tiesi's return to action for the Exiles has been delayed by his involvement on the Rugby World Cup and an injury he picked up playing in it.

The former All Black prop, Clarke Dermody also makes his second start for Irish having recovered from an injury picked up in the opening EDF Energy Cup match with Harlequins.

Given that London Irish is unable to make the knock-out stages of the tournament, the Exiles management team has decided to give a number of players the opportunity to push for a place in the upcoming, important back-to-back games with Perpignan in the Heineken Cup.

Among the fresh faces in the back line are Dominic Shabbo on the right wing and Nils Mordt at inside centre. Paul Hodgson and Eoghan Hickey are the starting half-back combination for the third time this season.

Club captain Bob Casey leads a strong pack in which he is partnered by James Hudson in the second row, while Juan Leguizamon comes in at No 8.

"We're resting some players that have played in all of our recent, tough fixtures and are giving an opportunity to players to push for a place in the squads for our Heineken Cup matches with Perpignan," said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby. "Some of the fresh faces are players coming back from injury; it's good to see Gonzalo making his first start of the season for us. It's a big opportunity for these players and we're confident they'll want to show what they're capable of.

"We have enormous respect for Worcester and their fighting spirit and we're expecting a physical contest on Sunday. It's clear that Mike Ruddock has given his
team the freedom to play an expansive game so we should see some good rugby from both teams," Smith concluded.

15. Topsy Ojo; 14. Dominic Shabbo; 13. Gonzalo Tiesi*; 12. Nils Mordt; 11. Sailosi Tagicakibau*; 10. Eoghan Hickey; 9. Paul Hodgson; 1. Clarke Dermody*; 2. Danie Coetzee*, 3. Richard Skuse; 4. James Hudson; 5. Bob Casey* (captain); 6. Richard Thorpe; 7. Steffon Armitage; 8. Juan Leguizamon*.

16. Dan Murphy; 17. David Paice; 18. Gary Johnson; 19. Phil Murphy*; 20. Mark Ireland; 21. Warren Fury; 22. Jeremy Staunton*.

* Denotes international
Director of Rugby: Brian Smith; Forwards Coach: Toby Booth; Backs Coach: Mike Catt

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