Vesty predicts a Twickenham classic as Saints square up to Tigers

Sam Vesty is looking forward to seeing Saints square up to his former club this weekend (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Sam Vesty is looking forward to seeing Saints square up to his former club this weekend (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

"A normal game on steroids" - that's how Saints attack coach Sam Vesty describes the east midlands derby.

Vesty certainly knows all about it, having featured on the Leicester side of the divide for several years.

But now he has jumped the fence as he looks to mastermind a victory against the Tigers at Twickenham on Saturday.

"It's going to be an awesome occasion," Vesty said.

"There are going to be lots of emotional drivers with it being Rob Horne's testimonial game.

"Twickenham is a great spot and you add the derby factor in as well - it's a game that has got everything.

"It's going to be a good one - a classic."

Vesty played for Leicester between 2002 and 2010, making 111 appearances in Tigers colours.

But he is now a Saint and is trying to view the opposition like he does with any other.

"I try to stay very removed from it and try to have objective eyes on what I'm trying to do because you have to as a coach, whoever you're playing," Vesty said.

"If I was to get emotional and not stay calm, it wouldn't help anyone.

"I just try to stay as calm and objective as possible."

Vesty's coaching team will be up against a group led by one of his good friends, Geordan Murphy.

Murphy has been handed the role of interim boss at Welford Road following the sacking of Matt O'Connor after the opening-day defeat at Exeter Chiefs.

And Vesty said: "Geordie is a great friend of mine and I hope he gets a good run at doing the job.

"A bit of stability there would be good for everyone involved at Leicester but I don't know the ins and outs."

Saints, like Leicester, have seen plenty of change in recent times.

The two clubs have struggled to hit the heights of previous years and are currently separated by just three points in the embryonic Premiership standings, with Tigers seventh and Saints eighth.

"Both clubs are cut from the same cloth," said Vesty, who was recruited from Worcester Warriors during the summer.

"Both have values that are about grounded, working-class people and I love that - it's a proper rugby club.

"The consistency and stability these clubs have, because they have such big fan bases and are well run, means you may see them have poor seasons but over long periods of time I'd be very surprised if you saw them consistently down."

Saints will hope to be the ones on a high on Saturday at Twickenham.

And Vesty added: "It's going to be good fun, really great fun.

"I've got some great memories of playing in them and it's that extra few per cent that gets everyone going.

"It's almost a normal game on steroids."