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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers and Saints head to head

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Mattioli Woods Welford Road hosts one of the oldest rivalries in rugby on Saturday when Leicester Tigers host Northampton Saints.

Though this is the first meeting of the teams in the 2020/21 season after the fixture at Franklin’s Gardens was cancelled, the clubs have met on 245 previous occasions dating back to 1880, with Leicester winning 137 to 89 by Saints and 19 drawn.

Saints go into Round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership season in fifth place in the league table on 46 points while Tigers slipped one place to eighth after defeat at Bath last week and are eight points behind their neighbours.

Tigers prop Dan Cole said: “Tigers and Saints is one of the biggest Premiership rivalries and you love being involved because of the intensity and the passion about it.”

In team news announced on Friday lunchtime, Tigers head coach Steve Borthwick welcomes back Hanro Liebenberg and Kobus van Wyk to the starting line-up and has Nemani Nadolo and Cyle Brink fit again after injury to join the matchday squad.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs, who starts alongside England colleague George Ford, said: “We won’t have the pleasure of having a crowd but it means a lot to the fans and the players because we represent them at the weekend.

“It is a special fixture. I grew up watching it and I’m lucky to have played in it.”

Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd has made six changes to the team that beat London Irish last weekend with Matt Proctor and Rory Hutchinson among the backline starters this week, while the experienced Tom Wood returns to the back row.

Northampton have lost just once away from home in all competitions so far in 2021 – at Harlequins in March – and have won on two of their last three Premiership visits to their oldest rivals.

Tigers, meanwhile, have won their last six at home in the team’s best run at the venue since 2016.

Referee is Karl Dickson, in charge for the 41st time in Premiership rugby.

There is live coverage on BT Sport 3HD as games remain behind closed doors and any Tigers season ticket holders without a subscription can apply for a BT Sport Match Pass to follow the action. Full details will be in your email baskets now from the Tigers ticket office.

You can also keep in touch with the club’s Matchday Live Service and vote for your Fans’ Favourite using the Tigers App. Make sure you’ve downloaded the most recent app update (Apple 2.11.0 or Android 36) to receive all of the latest news and info ahead of every matchday.