Tigers boss Cockerill wary of ‘more rounded’ Saints

Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill believes Saints are a more rounded outfit than they have been in previous seasons.

By Tom Vickers
Thursday, 3rd October 2013, 2:28 pm
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill

And he has urged his side to ‘meet fire with fire’ as they bid to claim a ninth successive east midlands derby win in Saturday’s showdown at Welford Road.

Cockerill steered his side to a 37-17 Aviva Premiership final victory against Saints in May.

But Jim Mallinder has since added the likes of George North, Kahn Fotuali’i and Alex Corbisiero to his Northampton squad.

And Cockerill knows Tigers must be prepared for a different sort of test when the two teams renew rivalries this weekend.

“Northampton are playing very well and have massive threats around the park,” Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.

“In previous years, if you stop their line-out drive and scrum, you would do well against them.

“Now they have Kahn Fotuali’i, Alex Corbisiero and George North, while Luther Burrell has improved out of sight.

“Their psyche will be different. They are a more rounded team.

“We always treat them with respect, but our lads are up for the battle, don’t worry about that.”

Leicester will be without British & Irish Lions stars Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi for the clash as both are out injured.

But Cockerill is determined not to let the loss of those players prove pivotal and he wants his men to make up for Croft and Tuilagi’s absence by showing added desire.

“They (Saints) have nobody missing and will bring the best side they can muster,” he said.

“We have some bodies missing and will not be the best side we can muster.

“We have always managed to meet fire with fire, though, and I hope that continues.”