Extra spice for Saints as they square up to Tigers

Saints flanker Tom Wood knows there will be 'extra spice, drama and intent' when Leicester Tigers come calling at Franklin's Gardens this afternoon.

Saturday, 30th November 2019, 7:00 am
Tom Wood scored a crucial try in Saints' Premiership play-off semi-final win against Tigers in 2014

The East Midlands derby is already a sell-out, with Saints having shifted every ticket available and Gardens hospitality booked to the brim.

It means there will be a traditionally special atmosphere awaiting Tigers, who currently sit second bottom of the Premiership.

Saints are at the other end of the standings, only behind table-toppers Bristol Bears on points difference.

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And as a veteran of Saints-Tigers encounters, Wood, who scored the memorable winning try in the Premiership play-off semi-final in May 2014, knows exactly what to expect today.

"These East Midlands derbies always have that extra bit of spice, of drama, of intent," Wood said.

"Even though the Dorian West and (Richard) Cockerill axis has dissipated now, there are boys who have just been in epic battles and scalped one another in crucial moments and that rivalry always builds nicely during the week and adds an extra bit.

"I hear it's already a sell-out so the atmosphere and buzz around the club will just be awesome, as it always it."

Wood was rested for last Saturday's dramatic 35-32 Champions Cup victory at Benetton as Saints sought to keep players fresh for more huge matches in the coming weeks.

Following the tussle with Tigers, the black, green and gold face Leinster home and away in the Champions Cup.

They will also travel to Sale Sharks and host Gloucester before 2019 reaches its conclusion.

And Wood said: "We had a chat as a group about getting out of the habit of labelling every week the biggest week of our lives because that's what it feels like at the minute.

"If you turn up with the same message that it's a big week every week, that's true pretty much throughout the whole season.

"We've got Leinster back to back, Leicester at home and those games are just epic.

"You've got to rotate your squad, keep them motivated and fresh so they can perform at their best.

"But ultimately we've got to be desperate and to enjoy it. It's a privilege to be part of."