Leicester Tigers v Maori All Blacks, November 13
Tait starts against Maori All Blacks
ESPN Staff
November 13, 2012
Leicester Tigers' Matt Tait charges through the Saracens defence, Leicester Tigers v Saracens, Aviva Premiership, Welford Road, Leicester, England, September 24, 2011
Mathew Tait starts for the Tigers © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Mathew Tait

Mathew Tait will make his first start in 13 months for the Leicester Tigers after being named in their XV for the match with the Maori All Blacks on Tuesday evening.

Tait has been struggling with a groin injury which restricted him to just three games in his debut season for the Tigers. He has been sidelined since October 2011 but played ten minutes for Leicester in their match with Saracens on Friday evening. And that ten-minute cameo has clearly done enough to persuade coach Richard Cockerill to throw him back into the action against the Maori All Blacks on Tuesday.

The Tigers have named a strong team for the match with internationals George Chuter and Jordan Crane included with Geordan Murphy on the bench. Anthony Allen has also been named in the XV provided he is not retained by England ahead of their match with Australia on Saturday.

And in other team news, Adam Thompstone returns to the backline, Australian scrum-half Patrick Phibbs makes his first start for the club and Fraser Balmain is given a start in the front row alongside the experienced duo of Boris Stankovich and Chuter. The Tigers will sport lettered shirts which will later be auctioned in aid of the Poppy Appeal.

Their opponents have included six players in their starting XV who will wearing the Maori All Blacks shirt for the first time. Shane Christie, Elliot Dixon, Frae Wilson, Kade Poki, Charlie Ngatai and Kurt Baker have all been given the nod. And the team also features four players who have been capped by the All Blacks with skipper Tanerau Latimer, hooker Hika Elliot and locks Jarrad Hoeata and Jason Eaton all playing against the Tigers.

The match will be the first of three for the Maoris and coach Jamie Joseph is looking forward to watching his side run out against the Tigers at Welford Road. "We have a great group of talented players, and we have selected what we think is a very strong team," Joseph said. "While many in our squad are new to the Maori All Blacks environment, we know that they are experienced Super Rugby and ITM Cup campaigners who we know will be competitive on the field.

"Playing Leicester in front of their home crowd will be something special, and we're really looking forward to this hit-out."

Leicester Tigers team: Mathew Tait, Niall Morris, Matt Smith, Anthony Allen, Adam Thompstone, George Ford, Patrick Phibbs, Boris Stankovich, George Chuter, Fraser Balmain, Louis Deacon (c), Graham Kitchener, Ed Slater, Julian Salvi, Jordan Crane

Replacements: Jonny Harris, Jimmy Stevens, Kieran Brookes, Michael Noone, Richard Thorpe, Sam Harrison, Dan Bowden, Geordan Murphy

Maori All Blacks team: Andre Taylor, Kurt Baker, Charlie Ngatai, Tim Bateman, Kade Poki, Willy Ripia, Frae Wilson, Ben May, Hika Elliot, Ben Afeaki, Jarrad Hoeata, Jason Eaton, Shane Christie, Tanerau Latimer (c), Elliot Dixon

Replacements: Quentin MacDonald, Jacob Ellison, Bronson Murray, Romana Graham, Nick Crosswell, Jamieson Gibson-Park, Jackson Willison, Declan O'Donnell

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