Rugby Union

Northampton Saints braced for ‘different animal’ in Leicester

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Football News

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes this weekend’s match against Leicester Tigers will be completely different to the battle against Wasps last Saturday.

The Saints were dominant in the pack throughout at Adam’s Park, with the rolling maul proving pivotal in their last minute 26-24 victory.

However, Mallinder believes a number of factors played their part in that particular clash, and expects a ‘different animal’ when the Tigers arrive at Franklin’s Gardens.

"Leicester are a different animal. At times we'll be looking to use [the maul] but we've got to look to use our backs and that's something we've been working on," he told BBC Northampton.

Mallinder believes the scrum will be eagerly contested throughout the contest, with Richard Cockerill another director of rugby who likes to use the forwards as much as possible.

"It's one of the weapons they like to use themselves and they're very good at defending against it as well," added Mallinder.

"Also, last Saturday it was atrocious conditions, so it was the right tactics to employ. But this Saturday it should make for a good, exciting game.

"We enjoy playing Leicester and we owe them one because they've been very successful against us in most recent years. It is a big game but it's about winning and that's what we've got to concentrate on."

It’s a challenge that Courtney Lawes is also looking forward to, with the second-row forward admitting friendships will be cast aside once the players cross the whitewash.

"It's one of those games when whichever team is most switched on will win," added Lawes, according to BBC.

"They have their boys like 'Youngsy' [Tom Youngs] and Dan Cole, really good players, but we have some big boys in our pack as well.

"In rugby you're always playing against your friends, especially when you get to your mid 20s. You just have to go out there and treat them as the enemy, and we will be revved up on Saturday."

The clash is likely to have huge connotations for the final Aviva Premiership positions, with the Tigers currently second on 58 points – two places and four points ahead of the Saints.

And, with all the top six facing each other, it could be a defining weekend in the season.

"We have got momentum, we have won four on the bounce and it'd be fantastic if we could get that win against Leicester and make it five," Mallinder concluded.

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Northampton Saints
Rugby Union
Leicester Tigers
Aviva Premiership

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