Leicester head coach Borthwick self-isolating for Bath game

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick’s Tigers have had just two days of training since returning from isolation ahead of the Bath game
Venue: Kingsholm Date: Saturday, 2 January Kick-off: 15:00 GMT Coverage: Updates on BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick must begin 2021 isolating at home as his Covid-hit side host Bath.

Winger Kobus Van Wyk is fit, props Ellis Genge and Dan Cole return to the front row and two more of Tigers’ England contingent George Ford and Ben Youngs are together at half-back.

Bath play for the first time since 12 December following Covid postponements against La Rochelle and London Irish.

They make three changes to the side that lost 23-19 to Scarlets.

Wing Semesa Rokoduguni comes in for Joe Cokanasiga, former Wales outside-half Rhys Priestland returns after suffering concussion four weeks ago and Zach Mercer’s recall means a shift to blindside flanker for Taulupe Faletau.

They also have England quartet Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Will Stuart and Sam Underhill back for the first time since the Autumn Nations Cup.

Although Borthwick must watch from home, Leicester have enough fit bodies to ensure a return to action following the Boxing Day postponement at Newcastle.

Several positive tests were returned meaning the rest of the squad were forced into self-isolation due to contact tracing following their European Challenge Cup wins over French clubs Brive and Bayonne.

In the absence of Borthwick, the Tigers backroom team will be coached by Mike Ford, Aled Walters and Brett Deacon, assisted by Matt Smith and Tom Harrison.

Steve Borthwick told BBC Radio Leicester:

“As soon as we shut down we knew that we’d only have two days of preparation going into this game.

“But the health and wealth of our staff and the community around us in Leicestershire has always been paramount importance, which is why we have acted as swiftly and responsibly as we have.

“As soon as we returned from France we shut down immediately and the players isolated at home. But we still have a couple who have not recovered well enough, even though they are out of isolation.”

Leicester: Steward; van Wyk, Taute, Scott, Nadolo; Ford, B Youngs; Genge, T Youngs (capt), Cole, Wells, Green, Martin, Liebenberg, Wiese.

Replacements: Clare, Leatigaga, Heyes, Henderson, Wallace, van Poortvliet, Henry, Murimurivalu.

Bath: Watson; Rokoduguni, Joseph, Redpath, McConnochie; Priestland, Spencer; Obano, Dunn, Stuart, McNally, Ewels (capt, Faletau, Underhill, Mercer.

Replacements: Walker, Schoeman, Judge, Stooke, Bayliss, Reid, Chudley, Matavesi.


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