Leicester Tigers centre Anthony Allen admits there’s no margin for error as the defending Aviva Premiership champions bid to secure their place in this season’s play-offs.
The Tigers had to call on their resolve last week to prevent Worcester Warriors claiming a shock first win of the Aviva Premiership season at their expense – triumphing 23-22 thanks to Toby Flood’s late penalty.
It was certainly a lively return for Allen, playing his first league game in four months, but Leicester were not the only ones put through the mill with top-four rivals Harlequins, Bath Rugby and Sale Sharks all coming from behind to win with Saracens suffering their first home defeat.
All that leaves the race for a play-off spots looking particularly tight with four points covering as many teams and Allen knows nothing less than a win will do against Gloucester Rugby.
“This is a massive time of the year for us with us not even being in the top four,” he said.
“We know if we don't win then there are a group of teams that will get away from us so it is very important.
“These next three weeks are massive and we just have to make sure we are picking up the points whenever we go out there.
“We know Gloucester have a talented squad and I’m sure they’ll be looking to get the win as well but we just have to focus on what we’re doing and look to continue picking up the points.”
Leicester Tigers’ only defeat in their last six Aviva Premiership Rugby matches came at Saracens on 21st December.
The Tigers have lost just once at Welford Road in the Premiership since 23 February 2013: 16-23 to Harlequins in November – a sequence that also includes two draws, against Northampton and Bath.
Gloucester have secured only two victories in the Premiership over the last nine rounds, against Worcester and London Irish in December, whilst the only try bonus point they have tallied this season curiously came in their 30-32 defeat at home to Wasps on 2nd November.
Gloucester’s only victory in their last seven fixtures with the Tigers in all tournaments was 27-21 at Kingsholm in the Premiership in October 2012.
The Cherry & Whites have not been victorious at Welford Road since their visit in the Premiership on 6th October 2007.
Gloucester have made five changes from the side beaten by Sale Sharks last time out with Mike Tindall captaining the team.
Gloucester forwards coach Andrew Stanley said: “After the result at Sale we had to shake things up a bit. Mike’s a player that has been round the block and has seen most things in the professional game and with the young side that we’ve got that is invaluable.”
Welford Road (2pm)
Referee: Dean Richards (63rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Luke Pearce & Peter Huckle.
TMO: David Grashoff
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