Mental Battle Already Started

There’s a mental battle to be won before a game like our semi-final with Saracens this weekend.

Because of the nature of such a big fixture, you are desperate to make sure that everything you do with your own game is spot on.

In the lineout, that means trying to make sure your calls and your moves are fool-proof.

It also means doing as much homework as you can on your opponents and trying to predict what they are going to do in certain situations.

In a game against a side like Saracens, whose set-piece is so important to them, those sort of details can win you matches.

But you must also guard against spending every living moment eating, sleeping and breathing the game.

You have to switch off at times. Not only can you bore yourself senseless with it all – but you can wear your brain out too.

Luckily, Leicester have been in this position many times before so there is no shortage of advice around about how to pitch your workload.

I’m getting a bit older in the tooth myself now too, so I tend to know when to get my head down and when to switch off.

It’s going to be a massive occasion. Saracens are a hard side to play and we always tend to have close games with them which are fought at the limit of physical endurance.

We have been playing well though and a run of ten games unbeaten means confidence will not be an issue.

From a personal point of view, it will be my last ever game at Welford Road in a Leicester Tigers shirt with a move to London Irish penned in for next season.

It’s a tremendous place to play rugby and I feel privileged to have been given that opportunity on so many occasions since joining the club from Wasps.

Those old school changing rooms are great and walking out underneath the Holland & Barratt Stand with supporters lining the way shouting “good luck” is an incredible feeling.

With everyone above you stamping their feet and shouting, by the time you run out onto the pitch, it can make you feel two inches taller.

With up to 24,000 people cheering you on at kick-off, it is a truly unique atmosphere and it is no wonder Leicester have, and will continue to have, such a fantastic home record.

I can’t wait to get out there. And I hope that by the final whistle, I will have one more game to play for this club, at Twickenham.

Read the Tryg's match day preview for both semi-finals.


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