Saints players told to earn Premiership place by shining against Tigers

Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson
Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson

Phil Dowson feels today's game against Leicester Tigers at Welford Road is the perfect chance for Saints to kick-start their season.

And the forwards coach has warned the players that they are now in an audition for selection as the Gallagher Premiership opener at Saracens edges ever closer.

Saints go to Allianz Park next Saturday, and they will be desperate to do so on the back of a victory against their local rivals.

The black, green and gold have lost all three of their matches so far this season, being beaten by Sale Sharks, Wasps and Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

And though they are now out of the competition, they won't be approaching their final pool match with anything other than an immense desire to prevail.

"We are approaching the game at Leicester with the intensity it deserves," Dowson said.

"The derby is a historic part of the club and we're looking forward to the opportunity that gives us to see the players in a different environment under different pressures.

"Obviously we want to make sure we rectify some of the mistakes from the game against Saracens and the melting pot of Welford Road is probably the perfect place to do that.

"Players are playing for selection the following week and there can be no greater motivation than the opportunity to start for the club.

"There's all the derby aspects of this game and there's also the aspect that we're now getting to the crux of the argument and we need to start correcting our problems.

"We need to fine-tune our ability and skill to make sure we're sharp.

"We've given some young guys opportunities in the first few games and it's very important to find out more about them, but this week we need to think more about performance.

"There's also guys coming back from injury so they need some time in order to get up to match fitness and put their name in the hat as well.

"It's a balance, but we definitely want to start looking more at an out-and-out accurate performance going into the league against Sarries."