Playing and winning with your mates

Playing and winning with your mates is the best thing about team sports.

It’s a bit cheesy but there is nothing better than lifting trophies with your friends after a lot of hard work to get there.

Saturday’s Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham gives me the chance to do that with the likes of Tom Croft, Dan Cole, the Youngs brothers and some other boys in the squad who put everything into getting there this season.

There might be some added pressure on us because we have not won for the last two years and, I am told that we are favourites too.

But we feel if we can get our game right, we have a really good chance of lifting the trophy.

Of course, there is more at stake with it being a final and with our opponents being our local rivals, Northampton.

The history and rivalry between our two clubs and the fact that the ground has been sold out all week will make this a special occasion.

I have played in a few finals before because Tigers have reached it in every year I have been at the club.

But playing the Saints has made this even more exciting. We just cannot wait to start and there has been a buzz around the camp all week.

Sometimes you come into work on a Monday feeling tired. But if you had asked most of the guys on Monday if they wanted to play the game there and then, they would have snapped your hand off. We all just want to get fired up and stuck into the game.

We have beaten Northampton the last seven times we have played them. But I genuinely feel that record is irrelevant on Saturday. It’s a one-off game and anything  can happen. Everything is equal at kick-off in a final.

Nobody gave them a chance against Sarries but they got a big win and that will give them confidence going into the game.

In my experience, big games are not won by fantastic rugby. They are won by the side that can implement their game best. If you can’t get your game going, you are inevitably going to lose the final.

It will be down to who wants it more and hopefully, that will be us. We set the tone at Saints a few months ago and got a big 36-8 victory. But they are going to be 30 per cent better and more fired-up than they were that day because of what is on the line.

They have not been to an Aviva Premiership final before but they have enough big-game players to know what to expect - most of whom have played in a Heineken Cup final so they won’t be wet behind the ears.

What an epic day and occasion this is going to be. Whoever can deal with that best is going to be the champions.

I’ll see you on the other side!


The Aviva Premiership final is on ESPN, which is now free with BT Broadband.

Now TV passes can be purchased now ready to use for the Lions tour.

Buy Now TV 24 hour pass to all Sky Sport channels to watch the British & Irish Lions without a Sky Sport package.

Next season all 69 Aviva Premiership games are free if you have BT Broadband, find out about the deal (with free HD if booked now).

 

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