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History has no bearing for Howard

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Tigers head coach Pat Howard insists history will have no bearing on his side as they go in search of a first English league title since 2002.

Tigers were on the end of Premiership Final defeats in both 2005 and 2006, but Howard says those games will not act as an extra incentive to perform against Gloucester on Saturday, simply because no extra incentive is needed.

"I'm not too worried about the history of it," says the former Australian centre. "Many of the guys who played against Wasps two years ago aren't here anymore. The talismen that were here in those days have left and that was an era that's been and gone. This team have worked particularly hard this year to get themselves into this position. What's happened in the past is just history now. We want to win because we're there, not because of anything that happened back in the day."

Tigers have played 23 Guinness Premiership fixtures already this season, all geared towards Saturday's showdown at Twickenham and Howard knows that everything now rests on 80 minutes of rugby.

"You work so hard to get into these sort of positions. There are lots of things we're doing right but we've got to make sure our performance on the big day matches up to that. We've heaped plenty of pressure on ourselves this year - we've been very vocal about our goals and what's possible this season and we're definitely not going there just to make up the numbers. It's the side who performs to their potential on the day that will win the game. We've played a lot of big games this year and we know we've got to produce a performance that will reward the people who've supported us all season.

Howard and his squad are under no illusions as to the size of the challenge ahead of them, especially when faced with a side who have performed as consistently well as Gloucester this year.

"We know Gloucester have got a good side - they had a very good game the other day and they deserve to be in the final. Of the two semi-final victories, Gloucester's was the more convincing. Marco Bortolami's been fantastic for them this year and he's a really good leader. They've got some very good players and so have we - we've already had two good games against them this year. Both sides are willing to play and I think it will be a very good game. "