Deacon and Kay back for Tigers
April 28, 2005

Ben Kay and Louis Deacon both return from injury for Leicester's final league game against Wasps on Saturday.

Deacon, who will wear the No.8 shirt, will perform a roving role with fellow back row forward Henry Tuilagi, who started at the back of the scrum in last Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final against Toulouse. Kay, who came off the bench against Toulouse, having finally recovered from an ankle injury picked up whilst on RBS Six Nations duty in March, returns to partner skipper Martin Johnson.

Johnson and fellow World Cup winner Neil Back will be playing their final Zurich Premiership league matches at Welford Road on Saturday. The latter, once he returns from the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, will take up a coaching job at the club next season, whilst Johnson is taking time out altogether from the game that has ruled his life almost exclusively since his Tigers debut in February 1989.

"As far as I'm concerned Louis will probably have the number eight on his back," explained Wells, "but he'll spend some of his time packing down at No.6 and some time at No.8. Wasps have improved their line-out since we last played them, we want to be in the position to win our own ball and put pressure on theirs.

"It's disappointing for Will Johnson, who did play well in different ways, but I've tried to pick people to do certain jobs for us this week. Henry made a big impact in attack and defence last week and we need his ability to give us go-forward."

In all, the team to face Wasps shows six changes from the outfit that suffered a 19-27 loss to Toulouse in last week's Heineken Cup semi-final at the Walkers Stadium - Deacon moves from the second row to the back row to replace the injured Lewis Moody, with Kay coming in at lock, Darren Morris will start at No.1 in place of the injured Graham Rowntree, Geordan Murphy shifts to the wing from full back and Sam Vesty will fill the last line of defence. (The sixth change sees Tuilagi 'move' from No.8 to No.6.)

If Tigers beat Wasps this weekend they will automatically progress to the 2004/05 Zurich Premiership Final at Twickenham on Saturday, May 14, which would make Saturday's fixture Wells' final one in charge of Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

"I hope it is ... If it's my last game it means we go directly into the final on May 14," said coach John Wells with a cheeky grin. "For the team's point of view, we've played such a high quality of rugby, at times this year; I'd hate for them to fall at the last hurdle."

Leicester Tigers team to face London Wasps:

15 Sam Vesty
14 Geordan Murphy
13 Ollie Smith
12 Daryl Gibson
11 Austin Healey
10 Andy Goode
9 Harry Ellis
1 Darren Morris
2 George Chuter
3 Julian White
4 Martin Johnson (captain)
5 Ben Kay
6 Henry Tuilagi
7 Neil Back
8 Louis Deacon

16 James Buckland
17 Michael Holford
18 Brett Deacon
19 Will Johnson
20 Scott Bemand
21 Dan Hipkiss
22 Alesana Tuilagi

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