Leicester Tigers chief Cockerill relishing Northampton clash
Richard Cockerill insists there will be no bad blood with rivals Northampton when the two sides meet in a fortnight
Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill insists there will be no bad blood with rivals Northampton when the two sides meet in a fortnight – with an Aviva Premiership play-off place on the line.
A year ago Tigers beat Saints to book their place in the Aviva Premiership final, and having beaten Jim Mallinder’s men twice since, in the league and the LV= Cup, Cockerill is eager to make it five in a row.
Saints will be without Calum Clark and Dylan Hartley for the clash through suspension but Cockerill remains entirely focused on extending Leicester’s five-game league unbeaten run.
And with reigning champions Saracens going down to Harlequins on Saturday, the Tigers are now level on points with Sarries in the race for an all-important home semi-final which could make all the difference in their bid to reach the Twickenham Aviva Premiership Final on 26 May.
Cockerill said: “The clubs are fantastic rivals. They are a great club, who we have a huge amount of respect for and vice versa.
“We all get a bit heated and emotional about our team and rightly so but when it comes to it we all want what’s best for the game.
“When we meet in a couple of weeks it will be heated and a frantic, hard battle but let’s hope it’s an honest one and we can all get on with playing good rugby.”
Meanwhile, Tigers hooker George Chuter insists there will always be some spice to clashes between the East Midlands rivals.
He added: “Northampton are just 45 minutes up the road so it’s always pretty intense. They have fans who live in south Leicestershire, while we have fans in Northamptonshire.
“It’s always a fantastic game, and I’m sure the clash in a fortnight will be another huge game.
“You never know, we might end playing them again in the play-offs, or even at Twickenham, but the important thing is to win the next game.”
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