May 20, 2016
Aviva Premiership Match Preview - Saracens v Leicester Tigers
Saturday will see newly crowned European champions Saracens return to Allianz Park to continue their domestic campaign, taking on visitors Leicester Tigers. This is only the second time these two sides have met in the knock out stage of this competition with Leicester ending the game victorious when they met back in 2012.
This will be Saracens eighth appearance in the semi final stage of the Aviva Premiership and their seventh in succession. Victory against the Tigers will take the Men in Black to a third successive Premiership final.
Recent fixtures between the two sides have tended to go the way of the home side with the last three meetings going the way of the hosts. Leicester’s away form in 2016 has been mixed, their only away win since January came in April against Northampton, and Allianz Park has not been the easiest of away trips for the Tigers.
Leicester however are experienced campaigners at this stage of the competition and their record is strong. By qualifying for Saturday’s fixture the Tigers have secured their place in an 11th successive semi final, of those previous ten they have only lost two.
Looking ahead to the weekend’s game Saracens hooker Schalk Brits acknowledged the threat posed by the visitors and says Saracens will not be dwelling on last week’s triumph ahead of the game. “You want to prove and show everyone why you’re European champions” said Brits. “Going onto the pitch against the Tigers this weekend, they’re not going to say “oh you’re the champs”, they’re going to come here and try to smash us at Allianz Park so it’s going to be a very tough battle.”
“I respect the team hugely” he added. “They’re always up for a fight and they’re always there to have a proper battle. They come to play rugby and we’re looking forward to that”
The set piece is likely to be a key factor on Saturday afternoon as Schalk explains. “Both sides are very proud about their set piece” he said. “We use it as an attacking platform, same as Leicester, so the one that dominates that will highly likely win the game. Of course there’s certain things that can go against you with penalties and all kinds of things, but if you can dominate there from their point of view and our point of view the battle is half won.”
Brits also had a word for the Saracens supporters ahead of what is the last home game at Allianz Park this season “They’ve been outstanding” he acknowledged. “Especially in Lyon, they’ve been great all through this season. I’m expecting, and I know that, the crowd will be there in full voice and scream as loud as they can.”