Involved In Great Rugby Derby

I feel privileged to be involved in one of rugby’s great derbies this weekend.

For decades, the rivalry between Leicester Tigers and Northampton Saints has been a fierce one.

There is only 30 miles or so between the two places and there are few people living in either town or city that don’t know a supporter of the other team.

Because of that, bragging rights for the supporters are just as important as for us players.

Before signing for the Tigers, I had spent my playing career at Wasps but I quickly got to know how much this game means to the club.

In training, in the week leading up to the game, there is a real bite. That has been no different this week. The players are desperate to play and the coaches, Richard Cockerill and Matt O’Connor are a bit more edgy than normal.

We work hard in training every week at Leicester. This week is discernibly different though and everyone puts in an extra 10 per cent into everything they do.

When game day comes, the experience from a players’ perspective is one to treasure.

Welford Road is a truly wonderful stadium. I have played in two Tigers v Saints derbies in my time at Leicester and the atmosphere is something else.

Sitting there in the changing rooms underneath the Holland & Barratt Crumbie Stand as the home crowd stamp their feet in the wooden stand is deafening.

You can feel 100 years of rivalry between the teams and you are sitting in the very spot that some of Leicester’s greatest names have sat as they prepare to embark on the same battle that you are about to do.

Other rivalries simply do not have that history.

When you leave the changing room, you pass fans on the walk out to the pitch shouting at you, imploring you to do well, then you run out and see that packed new Caterpillar Stand with 10,000 people in it.

It’s an experience I don’t think you can beat anywhere in Europe.

I hope the game will be as good as the build-up for me on Saturday.

Get tickets for Leicester Tigers home games here; Tigers v Saints is SOLD OUT.

Read more post from George Skivington here.


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