'Saints are an outstanding team', says Tigers boss Borthwick

Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick has labelled Saints 'an outstanding team' ahead of the huge East Midlands derby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on Friday night.

Steve Borthwick
Steve Borthwick

Tigers go into the game sitting top of the Gallagher Premiership table following another big win, against Worcester Warriors, last weekend.

Borthwick's side blitzed Saints back in October, winning 55-26 at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens.

But the Tigers head coach insists the black, green and gold will be a real threat to his side this week.

“We’re playing an outstanding Northampton team,” Borthwick said.

“With a multitude of ball carriers, and they’ve got a fantastic attack, and you see them attacking from their own 22.

"They look dangerous, really dangerous, so defensively we’re going to have to be at our absolute best.”

Tigers scored five tries as they secured a 36-16 win against Worcester last Saturday.

Borthwick said: "I’m very pleased for the players to get the result.

“They earned the victory and deserve to enjoy it.

“While we had plenty of positives, I thought there was moments where we let our concentration slip.

“In this competition, where anyone can beat anyone, you must keep pressure on your opposition and - at times - we were guilty of not doing that.

“It’s important that for the full 80 minutes, we are working hard to keep the intensity high.”

Tigers will be hoping that key back row forward Jasper Wiese will recover in time to face Saints on Friday.

Wiese was withdrawn at half-time against Worcester.

“He’d taken a little knock”, Borthwick said.

“We had Tommy Reffell to bring on, I brought on Tommy Reffell there and still had Ollie Robinson to bring on afterwards, so high-quality players to bring onto the field.

"I wasn’t going to take any risks.”

With the Breedon Terrace already sold out for the Friday night showdown with Saints, Borthwick is expecting another big atmosphere.

“I have no doubt we will see a big crowd here on Friday night, who are behind the boys from start to finish,” he said.

“After almost five weeks away from home, it was fantastic for the players to get the reception and support they did on Saturday, and I look forward to seeing everyone and maybe more here again on Friday.”