Leicester Tigers’ Sam Harrison believes they will meet a different, fired-up Northampton Saints side when they meet in the East Midlands Derby at Welford Road on Saturday.
Saints suffered a shock 22-16 home loss to Newcastle Falcons in Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 9 and now sit seventh in the table with four wins from their first nine games.
Tigers have lost just once – 24-10 against champions Saracens in Round 7 – in their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby games and downed Bristol Rugby 21-16 last time out to keep pace with the league’s top three.
Despite their differing fortunes, Harrison knows that when the East Midlands Derby kicks off, form goes out the window and that both sides will arrive bursting with motivation, while Saints have the potential fillip of being able to welcome Wales international George North back into the fold.
“The East Midlands Derby never really changes, whatever situation we play them in. In past years when we’ve been on the back of a poor run and pressure has been on us, it never changes.
“There is never a problem with getting up for this game, it will be the same their end. They are under a bit of pressure and they haven’t been on a good run of form.
“At the same time, it’s a Leicester-Northampton game and they will all be on their best game. They will be a different team to what they have been for the past few weeks.
“We need to address the things that put us in that position in the first place.”
📽 Myler spoke to SaintsTV about Saints’ tough loss at home pic.twitter.com/oiywAew1fX
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) November 26, 2016
“We will have to be right on it physically otherwise they’re a team that can beat us. We are making sure we get everything right going into this.
“Northampton will get a bit of a boost from George North’s return, after their loss to Newcastle at home, they will need that.”
Fly-half Freddie Burns has been at the heart of Tigers’ fine recent form – scoring a crucial 20 points in victory over Harlequins and 11 more to seal victory over Mark Tainton’s Bristol side.
— Leicester Tigers (@LeicesterTigers) November 28, 2016
And scrum-half Harrison admits it has been a pleasure to watch the pivot perform to the best of his ability, but insists everyone at Tigers is focussing on improving their game to ensure they finish the year with a trophy.
“Freddie is an international quality No. 10 and he is on form at the minute. When he is playing like that, with confidence, I can almost sit back and watch,” he said.
“It is great and for Freddie now it is just about keeping that consistency, it is something we’re all looking to do.
“Hopefully he can keep that form going into this big run of games and hopefully I can help him do that by just giving him good service
“I just want to kick on and we all want to win a trophy at the end of the season. That’s what it’s all about.”