Boss Mallinder admits Northampton Saints owe rivals Tigers

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Jim Mallinder admits Saints owe Leicester Tigers one at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

Northampton have failed to beat Tigers since the opening day of the 2010-11 season, losing the past six meetings between the sides.

DERBY PAIN - Saints players look despondent at the end of the defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in November (Picture: Linda Dawson)

DERBY PAIN - Saints players look despondent at the end of the defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in November (Picture: Linda Dawson)

This weekend’s showdown promises to be the most intense of the lot, though, with both teams eyeing a top two finish.

And Mallinder, whose fourth-placed side sit four points behind second-placed Tigers, is eager for his men to end their poor run against their local rivals.

“We enjoy playing Leicester and in a way we owe them one because they’ve been very successful against us in recent years,” he said.

“We went up there and got beaten and they came up here last year and beat us.

“It is a big game, it is Leicester, but for us it’s where we are and it’s about us getting another win, that’s what we’ve got to concentrate on.

“We’ve got to get our own performance right and hopefully we can do that.”

Saints have won their past four league games, giving them real hope of not only a play-off spot, but a home semi-final.

Saturday’s crucial will be crucial to those aims and Mallinder knows what his men have to do to claim a derby day win.

“We’ve got to get everything right,” he said.

“We’ve got to get our basics right, because that’s what Leicester do so well.

“We’ve got to get our set piece right, it will be a massive competition there and there are a number of interesting match-ups.

“They’ve all got their own personal duels in front of them.

“We’ve got to get the balance to our game right as well and I’ve said it before – you can’t win the game just on a maul. You’ve got to play.

“Actually if you look at some of our most recent games against Leicester, they’ve been very exciting games.

“We’ve had some incidents over the past few years, but hopefully the chat will all be about the rugby this weekend.”