Tom Vickers’ Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers preview

CELEBRATION TIME? - Saints will be hoping they will enjoy a long overdue east midlands derby win over Leicester Tigers (Picture: Linda Dawson)

CELEBRATION TIME? - Saints will be hoping they will enjoy a long overdue east midlands derby win over Leicester Tigers (Picture: Linda Dawson)

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From offices to universities, playgrounds to rugby grounds; Leicester fans have been lauding it over their Saints counterparts for far too long.

Ten matches and almost four years have gone by without those of a Northampton persuasion boasting the east midlands bragging rights.

But, on on Friday night, the men in green, black and gold have a chance to put all that derby-day pain to bed.

They have the chance to put the old enemy to the sword and move to within one win of a first Premiership title.

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill has suggested that beating Tigers would mean more to Saints than winning at Twickenham on May 31.

That is far from the truth, with Jim Mallinder and Co placing Premiership glory firmly at the top of their to-do list.

That has been the case throughout this season.

It was the case when they thrashed Saracens in October.

It was the case when they won with the last kick of the game at Wasps in December.

And it was the case when they won 13 games in all competitions up to the middle of March.

Finals have come and gone in the A League and LV= Cup.

An Amlin Challenge Cup showpiece awaits next Friday.

But Saints would swap all of those for title glory.

This squad knows the Premiership is what they will be judged on this season.

The likes of George North and Kahn Fotuali’i were brought to the club for these occasions.

Big names for the big games.

Now they have another chance to show just why they are rated so highly across the globe.

Leicester have got their own bunch of big-hitters. They always have had.

But this is the time for Saints’ juggernauts to come to the fore. For the squad strength that has been so often discussed to surface.

Indefatigable Leicester are on the brink of a 10th successive Premiership final.

An 11th successive unbeaten game against Saints.

They are some of the more remarkable records in recent sporting history, especially when you consider the strength of the sides the Tigers are up against.

Saints have had some powerful line-ups since September, 2010 - the last time they beat Tigers - but not quite had enough to get over the line.

It’s said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes.

In Leicester, they can add avoiding defeat against Saints to that list.

This time, though, it must be different.

This time, Mallinder’s men must show why they should be champions.

And this time, Saints supporters must be the ones with that smug look of satisfaction on their faces.