Aviva Premiership: Leicester’s Murphy eyes another final spot

Leicester Tigers captain Geordan Murphy is desperate to lead his side to their eighth straight Premiership final

nick easter

nick easter

Leicester may have reached the Premiership final for seven seasons running but captain Geordan Murphy believe making it eight in a row could be their greatest achievement yet.

Affected by World Cup call-ups, the Tigers made a painfully slow start to the campaign losing five of their first six Aviva Premiership matches, with the low point coming in the 50-25 loss to Saracens at Welford Road.

It took return of the international cavalry, including Murphy, to start the salvage option with victory against Sale on October 11 to stop the rot.

But the Tigers’ march to the top end of the table really began in earnest after a thrilling finish to December’s encounter with Northampton, when wing Horacio Agulla scorched down the touchline for the winning try.

After beating the Saints again 26-14 in the LV= Cup final last month, Murphy is faced with leading his team to a third east-Midlands derby victory of the season and knows there has never been more at stake.

“We have played them a couple of times this season and we know how difficult it is to win at Franklin’s Gardens,” said Murphy

“The way they play is very direct and very physical so we’ll have to be prepared to deal with that and exert our game on them.

“We don’t really worry about what’s happening at other teams because after the start to the season we had we needed to pick up points in every game and we’ve got better at doing that.

“Every team prefers to have a home semi-final but we have come from eleventh to third in the league and if results go out way we could get a home one but we’re not worried about it.

“After Christmas just getting top four is good, if there is that bonus of a home semi-final then that’s great.”

Full-back Murphy has been at Leicester since 1997 and played his 300th first-team game for the club against Newcastle Falcons in February.

But with Saracens contending for a second successive Premiership crown and a determined Harlequins team on the charge for a first, Murphy insists Leicester still only care about one thing: winning at Twickenham on May 26.

“I can’t knock Saracens because they probably deserved to win last year,” said Murphy, who will be 34 next week.

“We’ve been there for the last three years against London Irish and then Saracens twice but the last three years don’t count for a whole lot.

“This year we’ve had to recover from a dreadful start when the World Cup was on but the boys worked so hard and should we get to the final we’ll be looking to come away with a win.”

If you buy a ticket for this year’s Aviva Premiership Final on 26 May you will receive a free rugby shirt. Go to www.premiershiprugby.com/freeshirt to buy yours

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