1) Start well
Every side wants to start every game well. But with seven consecutive wins under their belt, the best way of reminding some Saints players who have not tasted victory against players with a Tiger on their shirt for 560 minutes is to get ahead early on. Should Tigers get off to nine or ten-point in the opening quarter, those demons will start flooding back for Northampton and any belief they have nurtured will slowly drift away.
2) Defend the Saints’ driving maul like rabid dogs.
When the Saints’ trademark maul is on song, they are very hard to stop and have steamrollered some good sides in this season’s Premiership. But sides that have stopped that part of their game have usually gone on to beat them. Tigers nullified their mauling threat at Franklin’s Gardens back in March by working their collective socks off in defence and the home side had little else to offer.
3) Imagine the pain of defeat to avoid complacency
Tigers go into the game, quite rightly, as big favourites with their recent Indian Sign over the visitors. As much as they will be aware of the dangers of complacency, anyone that has played sport at any level will know it is hard to stop it creeping in when you are fancied to comfortably win any game. So Tigers should spend five minutes on the morning of the game sitting down in silence trying to imagine the pain of defeat to their local rivals - pain that will last all summer. Surely, there could be no better way to make sure they kick-off with all thoughts of complacency completely erased from their minds.
4) Back themselves to do a job
Tigers are favourites for a reason, because they have beaten Saints seven times on the trot and have five more British & Irish Lions in their squad that the Saints do. When Tigers have played at the top of their game this season, they have dismantled sides in double-quick time. They are top of the try-scoring charts, have much more experience of the big day and possess more threats in the backs on Twickenham’s wide open spaces. They should win. And they must back themselves to do just that.
5) Send referee Wayne Barnes a hamper on the morning of the game under an assumed name from Leicester
Wayne Barnes has not done Leicester many favours at Twickenham over the past two years. He binned Ben Youngs in the first half two years ago and Thomas Waldrom in the first half last season. Both decisions had a big effect on the eventual outcome. In sporting parlance ‘he owes them one’. So Toby Flood must talk to him nicely and Tigers players must smile at him when they say ‘hello sir’. A morning hamper full of goodies, a new whistle and some ironed socks from an assumed name in Leicester might just make a difference too!
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