Aussie gears up for first Premiership derby

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:02
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor's opening loss poses a huge challenge for his first massive East Midlands derby at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Tigers take on the Northampton Saints, who lost to European champions Saracens while Leicester were downed by Bath Rugby.

Both scored three tries in defeat which hints at a lively derby.

The fierce rivals have fought out some nail-biting contests over the years with their most recent encounter seeing Tigers triumph 36-31 in Aaron Mauger’s emotional last game in charge.

New Tigers head coach Matt O’Connor is expecting a big challenge as his side look for their first win of the campaign at Franklin’s Gardens.

"Tigers Saints is always a massive day in the calendar for everyone in the area and the players look very fondly at it," he said.

"It’s a real challenge of your mentality as much as anything else and to have it second game of the season is really positive.

"They mean a little bit more to the players and there are players from Leicester in that group that have had that rivalry their whole lives, it does add a little bit of spice and it has spilt over on occasion,"

Bath saw three men shown yellow cards at Welford Road as they held on for an extremely tight win despite a barrage of late pressure from the Tigers on Sunday.

Australian O’Connor knows it will be important that his players keep their cool under the immense pressure of an East Midlands derby.

"It’s important to control your emotions but the occasions it does spill over it demonstrates the passion is there and that it does mean so much to the players," he added.

"But it’s about keeping your nerve and making sure that regardless of what is going on you execute and do your job.

"It’s incredibly disappointing [if you lose] and it affects so many people and that adds to the disappointment,"

In contrast to O’Connor, Saints Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has spent the past decade at the helm in Northampton and is targeting a response to their opening day defeat.

"We’ve got to quickly learn and move on. Next week is big for us, we need to be better," he said.

"We’ve played in some big games, but next is going to be big. It’s vital for us that we get a win and get our season going.

"I think we can fix this without a doubt. We’ve got the players who can do that but we certainly need to step up.

"We won’t have any of the flyhalves available but our southern hemisphere lads will be available, I’ve got 23 selection decisions to make,"

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 18 November 2017
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 12h00 Sixways
Italy v Argentina 13h00 Florence
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Wales v Georgia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Australia 15h00 Twickenham
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 15h30 Ricoh Arena
Ireland v Fiji 16h30 Aviva Stadium
Scotland v New Zealand 17h15 Edinburgh
France v South Africa 19h45 Paris
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 14h00 Sandy Park
Leicester Tigers v Bath 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
Ireland v South Africa 38 | 3
Wales v Australia 21 | 29
England v Argentina 21 | 8
Scotland v Samoa 44 | 38
Italy v Fiji 19 | 10
Sat, 04 November 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 37 | 8
Connacht v Cheetahs 23 | 15
Edinburgh v Ospreys 37 | 10
Barbarians v New Zealand 22 | 31
Kings v Ulster 36 | 43
Japan v Australia 30 | 63
Fri, 03 November 2017
Scarlets v Treviso 20 | 8
PREMIERSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 8 6 0 2 29
Exeter Chiefs 7 5 0 2 26
Gloucester 8 5 0 3 22
Leicester Tigers 7 5 0 2 21
Bath 7 4 0 3 20
Harlequins 7 4 0 3 20
Northampton Saints 7 4 0 3 20
Newcastle Falcons 7 4 0 3 20
Wasps 7 3 0 4 15
Sale Sharks 7 2 0 5 14
London Irish 7 1 0 6 6
Worcester Warriors 7 0 0 7 3