Gibson reveals Leicester ‘frustrations’

Date published: September 2 2015

Northampton Saints flanker Jamie Gibson revealed his move from rivals Leicester Tigers came down to playing style.

Eyebrows were raised earlier this year when the England Saxons flanker opted to swap Welford Road for Franklin's Gardens, with no love lost between either side.

Worried about his potential, Gibson decided to try a different style of play with Northampton.

"There were frustrations – the way [Leicester] played rugby was a certain way," Gibson told the BBC.

"I didn't feel that it necessarily allowed me to grow to my full potential.

"Northampton is a club that plays a different brand of rugby and I felt it might suit me.

"Over the last two years as a player [since joining from London Irish], I've grown immeasurably. Leicester is very much based on that work ethic – there's a physicality and there's a pressure because of the club's history. Two years there has made me a much better player."

Gibson still has huge respect for Leicester boss Richard Cockerill, saying "he's a good director of rugby, he looks after his players and his squad", but is also aware of the extra attention on his move considering the history of the East Midlands rivals.

"When I first started speaking to Jim Mallinder he said: 'Make sure you take your time because there are extra pressures on the decision that you don't normally get'.

"At Leicester the two big matches are Saints, number one and Bath, number two. There was no more intense game. The atmosphere around the ground on the day, around the club in the days leading up it, the way we trained – it was European Cup intensity.

"As players you get on with it, but you can't help but be involved in the history and get involved in the atmosphere surrounding these classic games."