Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints: Big match preview for the derby day clash
and live on Freeview channel 276
Competition: Gallagher Premiership (round six)
Venue: Mattioli Woods Welford Road, Leicester
Date and kick-off time: Saturday, November 18, 2023, 3.05pm
Weather forecast: 14c, cloudy
Live television coverage: TNT Sports
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referee: Jack Makepeace and Paul Dix
No.4: Richard Gordon
TMO: Hamish Smales
Leicester Tigers: Steward; Bassett, Porter, Kata, Hassell-Collins; Pollard, Youngs; Cronin, Clare, Heyes; Henderson, Chessum; Liebenberg (c), Reffell, Wiese.
Replacements: Vanes, van Wyk, Cole, Carter, Rogerson, Whiteley, Shillcock, Scott.
Saints: Furbank; Hendy, Freeman, Dingwall, Ramm; F Smith, Mitchell; A Waller, Langdon, Davison; Moon, Munga; Coles, Pearson, Ludlam (c).
Replacements: S Matavesi, E Waller, Millar Mills, Lockett, Pollock, James, Hutchinson, Sleightholme.
Not considered for Saints selection: Juarno Augustus, Sam Graham, Emmanuel Iyogun, Courtney Lawes, Temo Mayanavanua, Burger Odendaal, Tom Seabrook, Robbie Smith.
Most recent competitive meeting: Saturday, January 28, 2023: Leicester Tigers 18 Saints 19 (Gallagher Premiership)
Leicester Tigers head coach Dan McKellar: “We’ve built well into what is obviously a special week for our club and I’m certainly excited to experience my first East Midlands derby in front of 24,000 of our people on Saturday. For Ben (Youngs) to make a bit of history this weekend, it’s a testament to him and his commitment to the club and his leadership this week has been outstanding, with guys like Brett Deacon and Matt Smith, making sure we’re all aware of what this game means to our community but also how to prepare for it in the right way as well. Results so far have not been where they need to be, but our players and staff trust we’re on the right path and our job as a collective is to perform on Saturday to the level we know we can.”
Saints director of rugby Phil Dowson: “Their league position belies the quality they have. They played really well at times against Quins and there's obviously an element of change with Steve (Borthwick) leaving and Dan (McKellar) coming in but what you can see is that there's tonnes of quality and some very good players across the board. It's a huge challenge for us. I don't think the league position is relevant and we've got to make sure we're at our best to get anything out of the game.”
Opposition dangerman: It’s a case of take your pick this weekend. Wingers Josh Bassett and Ollie Hassell-Collins have a history of scoring against Saints, while the likes of Freddie Steward and Hanro Liebenberg can have a big say. But Jasper Wiese is always a stand-out player and he will have to be contained if the black, green and gold are going to win this one.
Tom’s prediction: With more influential players added to the injury list this week, Saints’ task has been made tougher. They performed so well against Exeter Chiefs last weekend but Leicester will be hurting after a tough start to the season and they will be desperate to put things right here. However, as much as it feels like this could be a home win, I can’t bring myself to side with Tigers so let’s back Phil Dowson’s men. Leicester Tigers 24 Saints 25.