Manoa: Tigers clashes are like cup finals for Saints

FINAL COUNTDOWN - Samu Manoa is preparing for a 'championship' clash with Leicester (picture by Linda Dawson)
FINAL COUNTDOWN - Samu Manoa is preparing for a 'championship' clash with Leicester (picture by Linda Dawson)
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Saints star Samu Manoa says every game against Leicester is like a cup final.

And the big American is eager to help his side come out on top in the latest instalment of the east midlands derby this Saturday.

Northampton head to Welford Road having lost their previous eight against games against their fierce local rivals, including the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham in May.

And Manoa knows this weekend’s clash will be just as tough as any of the ones that have gone before it as both teams battle for the bragging rights.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said. “I’ve played at Welford Road twice and never won. It’s a tough place to play at and Leicester is a good side to play against so hopefully we’ll come out with a win.

“It was good there. It’s a good atmosphere. The rugby we’ve played against Leicester is good rugby. It’s like a championship (cup final) game. It’s a good test.”

Saints and Leicester are currently neck and neck in the Aviva Premiership, with Jim Mallinder’s men sitting second courtesy of a superior points difference.

And Manoa is expecting the race for the play-offs to remain a closely-fought one throughout the campaign.

“Leicester’s are a tough side to play,” he said. “They’re a top four team and we’ll see what happens towards the end of the season but I know they’ll be up there.”