TOP BAR - Fixtures

Geordan Murphy backs young Leicester Tigers for Allianz Park stage

Geordan Murphy believes his Leicester Tigers youngsters will only benefit from taking on Saracens at their Allianz Park fortress in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Saracens are the defending champions, have not tasted defeat at home since losing heavily to Wasps in February 2016 and also hold the European Rugby Champions Cup and Aviva Premiership Rugby titles.

Tigers meanwhile have had an up-and-down season and saw a three-game winning run in the Aviva Premiership Rugby snapped at Welford Road by second-place Exeter Chiefs in a 34-15 defeat on Friday night.

But the Anglo-Welsh Cup has proved a fruitful arena for the East Midlands side this year, with now regular first-XV members George Worth and Jack Roberts first staking their claim in the tournament.

And though Tigers lost to Saracens in round four of the Anglo-Welsh – following important wins over Newport Gwent Dragons, Bath Rugby and Northampton Saints – Murphy is confident his men can make a mark at Allianz Park and push on for silverware.

“We want to go there, perform will and get the win, but it is going to be difficult. Saracens are a quality side, one of the best in Europe, if not the world,” eight-time Aviva Premiership Rugby winner Murphy explained.

“Their home record at Allianz Park is very, very good and we will have our work cut out, but we are going down there to compete and win.

“We will be including experienced players, but it is a learning opportunity for us – the likes of Jack Roberts and Ben White – opportunities to develop themselves and prove themselves too.

“We have to be aware of their record. Our players are respectful and fully aware of what a quality side Saracens are, but it is a record that has to be broken at some stage.”

And Murphy acknowledges that the loss at Welford Road to Exeter – who completed a home and away double over Tigers for just the second time – has left them eager to make amends at Allianz Park.

“The Anglo-Welsh comes at a nice time for us in that  we’re pretty disappointed with the way that we played against Exeter on Friday night, we had a plan that we didn’t execute,” Murphy said.

“Exeter really put us under pressure, however we gave them 14 points early in the game and they are a really difficult side to break down.

“It is a nice opportunity to go back to the Anglo-Welsh and give some young bodies a chance, the guys who have represented Leicester in the tournament have done a really good job so far and enhanced their own reputations.”

Tickets for the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March are now on sale. Click here to buy yours 

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