Odds stacked in Leicester’s favour, says Saints boss Mallinder

UNDERDOGS - Saints boss Jim Mallinder knows Leicester will be favourites at Twickenham (picture by Linda Dawson)
UNDERDOGS - Saints boss Jim Mallinder knows Leicester will be favourites at Twickenham (picture by Linda Dawson)

Saints boss Jim Mallinder says everything is in Leicester’s favour ahead of this weekend’s Aviva Premiership final.

And he believes his players will have to produce another mammoth performance, similar to the one in the 27-13 semi-final success at Saracens, to stand a chance of winning the title.

Leicester, who have played in nine consecutive Premiership finals, go into the game as favourites having finished two places higher – in second - than Saints in the regular season standings.

Tigers have won the previous seven meetings between the sides, with Northampton’s last east midlands derby win coming in September, 2010.

Consequently, Mallinder knows the odds are stacked against his side and he knows they will need to be at their very best to emerge victorious on Saturday.

He said: “We’ve got one British Lion (Dylan Hartley), Leicester have got six and they’ve got that experience of playing in Premiership finals.

“They’ve been in good form in the league since February and they only lost in the European Cup (knock-out stages) to the eventual European Cup winners (Toulon).

“Everything is really in Leicester’s favour so we know we’ve got to produce another performance like we did at Saracens to have a chance.”

Saints have conjured up a real togetherness this season, prevailing in games they might not have been expected to.

Saracens had been hotly-tipped to book a date at Twickenham, but Northampton rocked up at Allianz Park and showed huge motivation to make the final.

And while he will hope for similar spirit this weekend, Mallinder knows his men won’t need any added incentive as they aim to avenge a 36-8 defeat to Tigers back in March.

“The emotion will be there,” he said. “We don’t need to think about great team speeches or hitting ourselves in the changing room.

“It’s about us getting our processes right, it’s about getting the game we’re going to play right.

“It is going to be physical and they outplayed us when we played them at Franklin’s Gardens. Tactically, technically they were better than us, as well as being more physical.

“We’ve got to improve in all those areas if we’re going to have a chance.”