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Derby win was a big result, says Cole

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Dan Cole says it was important for Leicester Tigers to sign off in the Aviva Premiership ahead of a blank fixture weekend with victory in the East Midlands derby against Northampton Saints.

Cole returned from RBS 6 Nations duty to help Tigers move back into the Aviva Premiership top four with a 36-31 win at Franklin’s Gardens.
And he said it was a big result in the context of the run-in to the regular Aviva Premiership season.
“We know we needed to go there to win,” Cole said. “Saints targeted the game to push for the top four. To go here and win was a big result for us if we want to finish in the top four.
The set-piece was a key area for Tigers in the win, with the scrum in particular yielding a number of penalties and giving Leicester a solid platform in the game.
Cole said:  “The scrum, lineout, maul we were happy with. We managed to get penalties off it, so we are pleased with that, especially against Northampton.
“They focus a lot of their game around the scrum, the lineout, the maul, so to be able to gain the upper hand there went a long way to winning the game.
“East Midlands derbies normally come down to one score and that was a classic example. Two teams going at each other with a lot on the line.”
Cole won his third RBS 6 Nations Championship with England, to add to the titles in 2011 and 2016. England missed out on a back-to-back Grand Slam after losing to Ireland in their final game but Cole said: “It would have been nice to get the Grand Slam but we did what we set to achieve and win the Championship.
“Not many teams are able to go back-to-back.
“Obviously we were disappointed with the final result but if we had lost the first game and won the last instead you would be over the moon.
“My first Championship was 2011 and the next one was 2016. You go through that period in the middle where we were often a result away from it and second a lot of the time. You wonder whether you will get over the hump.
“To be able to go back-to-back you are able to forget about the disappointment before and you are happy with what’s gone.
“It’s like here at Leicester. That’s gone and you are focused on the next one.”