Planet Rugby

Tigers highly motivated - Cockerill

15th May 2014 10:46

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Richard Cockerill Newcastle Leicester

Richard Cockerill: Can't stand losing to Saints

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill believes the fact that his side are playing arch-rivals Northampton in the semi-finals will be all the motivation they need.

The Tigers beat Northampton in last season's Premiership final at Twickenham, a match where the Saints never recovered from the red card shown to England hooker Dylan Hartley for swearing at referee Wayne Barnes.

And in this term's regular season, Leicester were the only side to win at Northampton's Franklin's Gardens ground, the venue for Friday's semi-final.

Leicester have not lost to Northampton in 10 fixtures, a record which Cockerill, a veteran of the East Midlands derby as a player as well as a coach, is well aware.

"I would hate to lose to Northampton because I would hate to lose to Northampton, don't worry about it being a semi-final," said Cockerill of a rivalry between the two clubs that dates back 134 years.

Victory would see Leicester into a tenth consecutive Premiership final and for all that Northampton finished second in the league, four points in front of the Tigers, it is Cockerill's men who will be the favourites.

But Hartley - who will not be in action due to a shoulder injury - said now was the time for the Saints to set the record straight and end a winless run against Leicester that stretches back four years.

"I think we respond well to challenges," he said.

"Ulster away last season, Leinster away this season.

"When it is laid down to us, we respond well. We can't keep saying success is being a top-four side. The next thing to measure our success is a trophy."

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