Planet Rugby

Mallinder wary of wounded Tigers

04th October 2013 09:17

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Jim Mallinder

Cautious: Jim Mallinder

Northampton Saints boss Jim Mallinder has warned that Leicester Tigers can still pose his side serious problems despite missing some big names.

Tigers will be without British and Irish Lions Tom Croft and Manu Tuilagi with knee and pectoral injuries respectively for the visit of Saints to Welford Road on Saturday.

Though the loss of both is arguably a big blow to Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill, Mallinder feels the hosts will not be damaged by their absences.

"They've lost two big players there but they've got a massive squad of massive, experienced players," Mallinder told the Northamptonshire Telegraph.

"They get rid of one and another quality player starts in the 15 so I don't think they'll worry about missing those players. They've got a massive squad full of international players."

Tigers overcame the Saints in May's Premiership final, but the Director of Rugby is adamant this derby clash is not an exercise in retribution.

"There's no score to settle," said Mallinder.

"We've had some brilliant battles in the past.

"The cup final, forgetting about all the controversial moments, was a fantastic game of rugby. We came back with 14 men, we played well with 14 men and scored some fantastic tries to give ourselves a chance of winning that game.

"All we've focused on this week is how technically, tactically, mentally we can win this game. And we've got to get the physicality right as well, because it will be physical.

"We've got to get everything in place and that's what we've been concentrating on."

Mallinder does, however, admit the magnitude of what would be his side's first victory over the Tigers in over three years.

"It would have a massive positive impact," said the Director of Rugby, whose side are set for a run of big games, beginning in Castres next week on Heineken Cup duty.

"It's not the end of the world if you go up there and don't win. It won't define our season, but leading into these difficult games we've got and the international period, a win up there would be massive."

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