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Northampton v Leicester: Ignore the hype not the history

| 16.05.2014

Northampton arrive for their crunch Aviva Premiership semi-final clash at home to long-standing rivals Leicester in seemingly perfect mood having notched the biggest win of the season against Wasps last time, however, using that form as a basis for this match would be foolhardy.

The Saints posted a club Premiership record when running in 11 tries last time at Franklin’s Gardens, securing in the process a home berth which has just given them the edge at 8/13 with the layers.

Dismissing 5/4 shots Leicester because of that performance would be at one’s peril though as despite the spectacular stats involved the result would have to be filed in the spurious category.

Wasps were deliberately under strength last week with the first leg of their European Champions Cup play-off not far away and only three of the players who succumbed to Northampton will realistically feature against Stade Francais.

Another huge and more obvious concern for Saints fans is their record against Leicester where they have been completed dominated for years.

If Jim Mallinder were to see his team through to the final it would be the first time in 10 meetings that they would have secured a victory against their local foes and considering the prices that is enough of a deterrent.

Those wanting to side with the away side don’t need to look far back either to find evidence of the tight grip Richard Cockerill’s team have over their opponents as they met in this same fixture just over a month ago.

Leicester came away with a crucial 22-16 victory that day and although the Saints have not been beaten at Franklin Gardens since the inspiration for the visitors is handily placed with that triumph still fresh in the memory.

Aside from what has happened this season, the pedigree of the two teams could make someone whose interest dips in and out of the game make a double take when seeing the odds.

After all, Leicester have won this competition 10 times whereas Northampton are yet to lift the trophy after missing out in the final last year.

Also, Northampton will be missing their captain and one of their most influential players in Dylan Hartley through shoulder injury, precisely the type of player they will desperately need to banish the demons of the past.

And so with everything considered the 5/4 available on Leicester Tigers looks excellent value. They come into this game armed with everything the everyday punter wants; form, pedigree and crucially a record over their opponents which is impossible to ignore.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster