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Preview: Saracens v Leicester Tigers Preview: Saracens v Leicester Tigers

Preview: Saracens v Leicester Tigers

The European Champions may lie in wait for them away from home this weekend, but Leicester’s Peter Betham insists they will not be afraid of Saracens in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals.

Neither side will be intimidated by the occasion, with Sarries in their seventh semi-final in succession and the Tigers in their 12th.

The astonishing figures do not end there, as you have to go all the way back to the 2003-04 season to find an Aviva Premiership Rugby final that did not involve either of the two teams.

This season will be no different with Leicester locking horns with the north Londoners at Allianz Park for a spot at the Twickenham showcase.

And despite Saracens’ astonishing European success last weekend and a week that has been filled with awards and acclaim off the field, Betham is confident his side can brush aside the hype.

“The boys have really been put through their paces this week and we’ve gone through a lot of game plans so everyone is coming along well,” he said.

“We expect a really hard game once again from Saracens. They are such an experienced side that are packed with internationals, so they’ll be disciplined and physical as always.

“We’ll have our work cut out for us. We’re very lucky to have a second chance at being in a semi-final this season, so we have to make sure we take this chance.

“This time it’s very much do or die so having the right attitude and mindset is going to be key for us.

“There’s a lot more build-up to these big matches in England compared to Down Under, both European and Aviva Premiership games.

“There’s a huge amount of interest in the games but you need to brush aside the mental hurdles and put everything into putting in the right performance on the day.”

The Tigers will take come confidence from their 21-13 win over Saracens the last time the sides met back in March, although since that game the north Londoners have won every match they have played in all competitions.

And while Leicester have lost on their last three visits to Allianz Park, newly crowned Aviva Premiership rugby player of the season Alex Goode is adamant they will not be taken lightly.

He said: “We’re in fantastic spirits of course after last weekend but we are also well aware of how good a team they are.

“They’ve not been in the top four for so many years for no reason, and we’ll have to make sure we turn up and put in a good performance.

“Everyone in this squad is incredible. The pack were brilliant last weekend, and going into this week again we’ve got to make sure we front up.”

Allianz Park, 12.30pm – Live on BT Sport

Referee: JP Doyle (115th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys & Paul Dix. TMO: Graham Hughes.

If you want to be at the world’s biggest club rugby final, this year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final

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