Leicester boss Cockerill refusing to underestimate Saints

CAUTIOUS - Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill (picture by Linda Dawson)
CAUTIOUS - Leicester Tigers boss Richard Cockerill (picture by Linda Dawson)

Richard Cockerill is adamant Leicester won’t underestimate Saints at Twickenham - despite prevailing in the past seven meetings between the sides.

Tigers booked their place in a ninth successive Premiership grand final thanks to a fine 33-16 win over Harlequins on Saturday.

And they will be big favourites for the clash with Saints, who have not claimed a derby win since the first day of the 2010 season.

But Cockerill is taking no notice of the statistics and has warned his players they will have to be at their best if they are to claim east midlands bragging rights once again.

“Saints went into their semi-final with Saracens with a great attitude and put in an outstanding performance,” Cockerill told the Leicester Mercury.

“We will not be underestimating them when we play them at Twickenham, that’s for sure.

“Their physicality and set-piece were superb and they were good value for their win.

“They had Saracens rattled and that was as good as they have played all season.

“Saints are as good as anyone in the league on their day.

“We know how good they can be if they get it right and, as I have said earlier in the season, they are good enough to win this competition.”

Leicester won the most recent meeting between the two sides 36-8 at Franklin’s Gardens at March and have an aggregate advantage of 181-99 in the past seven clashes.

But Cockerill says he is not surprised Saints are in the play-offs once more.

“They have some real power in the pack with Soane Tonga’uiha, Brian Mujati, Courtney Lawes and an abrasive back row,” he said.

“And we all know what good coaches Jim and Dorian West are.

“They have strengths in their squad that make them a very good side and they should be a club that reaches the play-offs.”