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Rugby News

Preview | Tigers look to replicate quick start against Saracens

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Leicester Tigers travel to Saracens on Sunday, March 3, for a heavyweight Allianz Premiership Women's Rugby clash to be shown live on TikTok Sports and the PWR YouTube channel.

Inevitably a tough contest when coming up against the most successful side in the competition's history, Tigers will look to utilise a rapid start and the expansive rugby style they have aimed to cultivate in order to cause an upset.

In the initial meeting between the two sides, at Mattioli Woods Welford Road in December, Tigers got off to a dream start with Francesca McGhie scoring a storming try in the opening five minutes before Morgan Richardson scored Tigers’ second before we were even halfway through the first half. However, with the firepower that the Londoners possess, no team ever has a chance to rest on their lead.

One of the threats that struck in the aforementioned meeting was back row star Sophie de Goede. The Canada captain has scored a try in 88% of the matches she’s featured in this season (7/8), the best rate of any player in the league to play more than one match; however, it is the reigning World Rugby women's Player of the Year, also of Saracens, Marlie Packer who is the top try scorer overall in the league this season (11, while de Goede sits joint 3rd on 8 tries).

It was Packer who made an enormous difference in that initial meeting, the three time Premiership champions bringing the Red Roses captain on after just twenty minutes in order to boost the side's fight back from behind. The flanker made a massive turnover in seconds and after just three minutes from entering the field she touched down at the back of a maul.

It will be imperitive that Tiger shut down these threats in order to give themselves a platform for success; the side's defensive workrate has been key for staying in matches thus far, their 1661 tackles over the season second to just Exeter Chiefs (1781). Tigers' dominant tackle rate of 10.2 per game is also second across the league, however an injury to Keia Mae Sagapolu Sanele sustained last week will be a huge blow, the USA international the league's leading dominant tackle threat with 21 thus far.

This Leicester side must restrict their hosts from playing; Saracens lead the league comfortably both in entries to the 22 (12.3 per game) and points per entry (3.4), demonstrating their lethal nature when close to the whitewash, while their average points total of 42.8 points per game sits comfortably at the top of all teams in Allianz PWR. Similarly, the visitors must make security at the breakdown imperative, with their opponents also leading the league in turnovers won, with a massive 6.2 per game.

However, with sport, as in life, upsets are never out of the question. Leicester Tigers have running threats across the park and, with Red Rose star hooker Amy Cokayne set for her first ever Tigers start, carrying threats across the pack also. The side will need to be at their best to come away with the W at the StoneX Stadium come Sunday.