I am a Londoner but it didn’t take me long to realise how much the Leicester v Northampton derby meant to those who have grown up around these parts.
The way some of my Tigers team mates and director of rugby Richard Cockerill prepare during the build-up to the East Midlands derby, it would be debatable which was more important in Sunday’s LV= Cup final – winning silverware or simply beating Saints!
It should be a cracking game. Both sides have named strong sides and made a firm statement to anyone who doubted the importance of the Anglo-Welsh trophy.
We feel like we are in a good place too after our semi-final win at Bath as big underdogs.
I wasn’t playing but I watched the game on TV. I am normally someone who jumps around the room shouting when I watch an important game on the box. This time though, it was so tense all the way through that I sat there squirming and shuffling on the edge of the sofa.
It could have gone either way but we edged it and that win has done wonders for the confidence of the squad. It wasn’t that we didn’t back ourselves beforehand, it was just that so many of those younger players like George Ford (19), Alex Lewington (20) and Andy Forsyth (21) and Calum Green (21) have brought a real vitality to the squad in recent weeks.
The enthusiasm they have brought to training is infectious and guys like Fordy are no shrinking violets. He is not afraid to say a thing or two.
From a personal point of view, it’s refreshing to see young guys like that just go out there and play. Sometimes you need reminding what that is like without having the baggage that age inevitably brings with it.
Everyone at the club is looking forward to meeting the Saints in the final and nobody will be taking a backward step on the pitch.
I quickly bought into the history of meetings between these two sides and I can promise Leicester fans, that the boys who have been born and bred here or who have come up through the Academy, will be absolutely mad for it come three o’clock on Sunday.
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