Dublin date confirmed but Saints' full focus switches to Tigers tussle

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On Sunday evening, the date and kick-off time of Saints' Investec Champions Cup semi-final clash with Leinster was confirmed.

Phil Dowson's men will travel to Croke Park in Dublin to take on the Irish giants on Saturday, May 4 (kick-off time 5.30pm).

But while supporters book flights and hotels, Saints are tasked with quickly switching their attention to the present.

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Because lying in wait this Saturday is one of the biggest games of the season so far: a home clash with Leicester Tigers.

Saints boss Phil Dowson (photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Saints boss Phil Dowson (photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Saints boss Phil Dowson (photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Saints are desperate not to let Tigers to do the double over them, having been well beaten at Mattioli Woods Welford Road back in November.

And Dowson said: "Playing against Leinster at Croke Park will be very special, but I think we need to keep our eyes on where we are at ahead of this weekend, really.

"We need to get the excitement and a high of derby day here against a side who will be coming after us.

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"They dished us up at Welford Road earlier in the season so we've got to make sure we sharpen the knife and we're ready for that battle as well."

Saints, who beat Vodacom Bulls 59-22 last Saturday, can be extremely satisfied with their work in Europe so far this season, having won all six Champions Cup matches they have played.

And Dowson said: "We're excited about the opportunity we've given ourselves.

"What we talked about at the start of the season was opportunities that playing in this tournament gives you.

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"In the past few seasons we haven't won a game in Europe so we said we'd go as hard as we could at it.

"We had great opportunities to go to tough places like Glasgow and Munster, we had Toulon and Bayonne come here so we were excited about challenging ourselves as a young group to see where we measured up. That's kind of gathered momentum."

Ollie Sleightholme was named man of the match in the quarter-final success at cinch Stadium at Franklin's Gardens last weekend.

And Dowson said: "It was great on his birthday as well - a nice touch.

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"He's got that tenacity and he's aggressive - you see that in the way he carries the ball.

"A bit like the previous week (against Munster), there were lots and lots of strong performances.

"I thought Trevor Davison was outstanding again, I thought Manny Iyogun was great, and Alex Moon."

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