Northampton: Tigers a different animal - Mallinder

Saints 'owe' Leicester - Mallinder

Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder has said Northampton's backs will be as involved as the forwards when the Saints take on rivals Leicester Tigers.

Saints relied almost exclusively on their driving maul in grinding out a last-minute win at Wasps last week.

But Mallinder told BBC Northampton: "Leicester are a different animal.

"At times we'll be looking to use [the maul] but we've got to look to use our backs and that's something we've been working on."

All Northampton's four tries in the 24-26 win at Adams Park were scored as a result of driving mauls, with Wasps coach Dai Young subsequently acknowledging the Saints had not needed to play any other way.

Mallinder said Leicester's pack will be better equipped to deal with the threat when the East Midlands rivals meet at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

"It's one of the weapons they like to use themselves and they're very good at defending against it as well," he continued.

"Also, last Saturday it was atrocious conditions, so it was the right tactics to employ. But this Saturday it should make for a good, exciting game.

"We enjoy playing Leicester and we owe them one because they've been very successful against us in most recent years. It is a big game but it's about winning and that's what we've got to concentrate on."

Saints' England second-row Courtney Lawes said friendships within the national side would be put aside for the duration of the game.

"It's one of those games when whichever team is most switched on will win," Lawes said.

"They have their boys like 'Youngsy' [Tom Youngs] and Dan Cole, really good players, but we have some big boys in our pack as well.

"In rugby you're always playing against your friends, especially when you get to your mid 20s. You just have to go out there and treat them as the enemy, and we will be revved up on Saturday."

Northampton have won their last four Premiership games and Mallinder stressed the importance of Saturday's fixture in regard to the end of season play-offs.

"The top six are playing each other this weekend and lots can happen," he said.

"We have got momentum, we have won four on the bounce and it'd be fantastic if we could get that win against Leicester and make it five."

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