Premiership: Northampton Saints hosts Leicester Tigers in semi-final

The Leicester Tigers’ captain Ellis Genge, and the fly-half George Ford, will face Northampton Saints at Welford Road in Saturday’s Premiership semifinal.

Progenge will be joining Bristol and Sale-bound Ford next week. A win by the Tigers would mean that Genge and Ford can bid farewell to Twickenham.

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Genge and Ford will share an emotional day. There will also be a moment of applause to remember Tiffany Youngs, former Tigers skipper, who died earlier this week.

“I hope that everyone realizes that no matter how big the game, it pales into insignificance when one looks at what happened this week.” Northampton Saints fly-half Dan Biggar said to BBC Look East. Ben Youngs will be starting at scrum-half in Leicester, Tiffany’s brother-in-law.

“Still early on Tigers’ Journey”

Steve Borthwick, the Tigers’ head coach, says that there is plenty to be improved upon after struggling at the bottom of this table for the past few seasons.

Borthwick stated that “We are still very early in this journey,” BBC Radio Leicester reported.

“You’re referring to a club here, which very nearly got relegated 2 years ago. A club that was not really respected, was losing the majority of games, and the only major games were relegation contests.

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“To get back from that, each game is important, and every week is important. Can we get better every week? That’s this week’s challenge.

“One of the most exciting things about coaching is that there’s so much more to do, and so much more we can as players and coaches work towards.

  • “The team is growing rapidly, it’s young, and it learns quickly from its experiences.
  • Saints are ‘excited by semi-final derby

Northampton forwards coach Phil Dowson admitted that they’ve had to endure two “chastening” experiences against East Midlands rivals this season. They were beaten 55-26 at home and 35-20 at Leicester.

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Saints were able to secure a play-off slot due to six wins in their seven Premiership games.

Dowson, who will replace Chris Boyd as Saints’ rugby director in the summer, said that it felt “pretty special”.

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  • “We worked hard to get a chance in the semi-finals, and it’s exciting.
  • “We have taken cover twice (against Leicester), which have been very chastening, especially in a local derby.

“We must learn from this and it is clear that we have learned our lessons. It is time to get our game on the pitch and deal with their aggressive and dominant performances.

How we get into the game is crucial to the success and viability of our game-plan. You have to be physically fit and disciplined.

Match facts

After winning only one of the five previous matches (L4), Leicester Tigers have now won three of their four Premiership matches against Northampton Saints. However, their four losses against Northampton were all at home.

In the semi-finals (11-3) of the Premiership, the Tigers beat the Saints to win their previous home tie.

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Leicester has lost four of the last four Premiership play-off matches, but they were all away losses. They have won seven of their previous home semi final ties without conceding more than 16 points.

Northampton has lost their two previous matches in the play-offs (L1) after having won three of their four previous matches (L1). They have only won one of their six semi-final matches away from home (v Saracens 2012-13).