The Midlands Derby is often the stand out fixture of any rugby season and this year it is expected to be no different…
Big hits, explosive tries, unrivalled passion and a fiery crowd atmosphere are all guarantees when the Northampton Saints and Leicester Tigers go into battle.
There is no love lost between these two great sides and this fixture comes with extra added spice this time around. Leicester Tigers will be seeking revenge for their semi-final defeat to the Saints in the closing stages of last season, where they narrowly lost 21-20.
Since then, the Saints have been moving in the right direction, sitting top of the league this year and looking more than capable of defending their title. They have also been showing some impressive home form, which will be a daunting prospect for the travelling Tigers.
Leicester currently sit 10 points behind Northampton and know that a loss this weekend could prove to be too much of gap to chase down before the end of the season. Therefore the pressure will be on Richard Cockerill’s men, who have so far experienced a pretty poor start to their season.
Whilst the form guide is often thrown out the window for this clash, Tigers will be buoyed by the fact they have managed to win three of their last four matches at Franklin’s Gardens and in recent years have been by far the more superior side.
However, this Northampton team is the best it has been for years. With the likes of George North, Samu Manoa and Ben Foden in their attacking ranks, they have proven too hot to handle for most sides in the Premiership this year.
The Jimmies will definitely favour an attacking mind-set for this fixture and if Tigers allow them to play the free flowing rugby they are capable of, then this could be a rather one sided affair.
So anticipate an entertaining end-to-end match with plenty of tries at Franklin’s Gardens this Saturday, as Saints look likely favourites to crush their sporting enemies.
9/10 – Northampton Saints to win by -8 points