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LV= Cup preview: Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks

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Leicester Tigers assistant coach Richard Blaze believes the onus is on his young guns to put on a show in their LV= Cup tie against Sale Sharks.

Both sides gained first round victories last weekend with Richard Cockerill’s team earning a narrow 17-16 win against London Irish.

And the Tigers’ winning start was made all the more impressive by fielding a team with an average age of just 23.   

So far Blaze is watching his starlets grow up before his very eyes in the LV= Cup, and he insists the club is set to reap the rewards from blooding their youngsters in this competition.                                

“The main thing when it comes to the LV= Cup is to focus on yourselves, teams tend to pick a stronger line-up when they are at home, but you can never predict what side anyone is going to put out,” he explained.

“It’s all about the development of these young players, and allowing them to play on the big stage, it’s their very own cup final.

“If we give them the opportunity then it’s also a chance for them to pay us back and prove us right, it works two ways.

“We’ll certainly be looking to win, but Sale are very good, they’re a driving team and very effective at it, but we must focus on ourselves and that will be the key.”

Tigers give academy lock Joe Maksymiw and No.8 Ed Milne their first starts for the club while prop Dan Cole, who has recovered from the neck injury he suffered on England duty, is back among the replacements.

Freddie Burns, Miles Benjamin, Adam Thompstone and captain Sam Harrison will also bring experience to the Tigers backline.

Nick Macleod, who was last week’s hero for Sale after his late penalty downed Wasps, makes his first start at fly-half since April.

Josh Beaumont also turned in a man-of-the-match performance but the talented young lock insists the Sharks were by no means perfect in victory.

Beaumont said: “We came away with the win on Saturday but it probably wasn’t the performance we wanted so I think this weekend we’re looking at both, a big performance and the win.

“Hopefully we can build momentum into the Premiership games. We’re going there to get the win, to get the four points.

“We’ve got the squad going there that is more than capable of doing that so for us it’s all about winning and building that momentum to London Irish.”

For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here

Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets
 

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