Five things Saints must do to win the Aviva Premiership final

Five things Northampton Saints must try to do to beat the Leicester Tigers at Twickenham

1) Try new things in opening 20 mins to get Leicester guessing

Seven successive wins on the trot by Leicester suggests they always know exactly what is coming in the Saints’ game plan. So Northampton need to mix it up a bit. Even if they have no intention of re-inventing the wheel for the full 80 minutes, they should throw the odd trick move in there during the opening quarter. Try a line-out throw to a man at the front? Do a wrap-around in the backs? Just something to get Leicester guessing. It may earn them a valuable half second later in the game.

2) Throw body and soul into opening rucks

It sounds fairly obvious but Leicester have been bullying Premiership sides for a decade and more with their physicality. In many of the clubs' recent meetings, the Tigers have beaten the Saints up, up front and spat them out in the backs. Northampton have to earn parity at the breakdown and they have to fly into the opening exchanges like there is no tomorrow - because there isn’t.

3) Truly believe the ‘anything can happen in one-off games’ line

The Saints have been more than happy to allow themselves to be cast as the underdog in the build-up this week. But, deep down, they have to truly believe they can win if they are going to beat an experienced side like Leicester. There is no reason whatsoever why the Saints can’t win this thing. Their performance at Saracens in the semi-final proved they are good enough to beat what most people saw as the best team in the league. Beat what most people saw as the second-best team in the league in one, 80-minute game of rugby and they will be champions.

4) Target Julian Salvi

Salvi is a one-man wrecking ball for opposition defenders at the ruck. He is strong, clever and his speed gets him around the park quicker than most opensides in the Premiership. When he dominates the tackle area, Leicester win. It’s as simple as that. As soon as Salvi gets near a ruck, a Saint must be on hand to smash him out of the way - and quickly.

5) Play smart and pragmatic rugby

Leicester will want an open and free-flowing game to get their dangerous backs into play so Northampton must frustrate them and not give them what they want. Stephen Myler must kick his goals when they are on offer and pin Tigers in their own 22 when they are not. Make Tigers play under pressure. Force them to make mistakes in their 22 and give the Saints’ impressive mauling game a chance to go to work. Myler's kicking from hand must be spot on and Lee Dickson’s box-kicks must give his backs a chance to tackle Tigers’ dangerous back three runners as soon as they have caught the ball.


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