Samu Manoa is eagerly anticipating the Saints' trip to Leicester © Getty Images
Rugby News Manoa raring to go at Welford Road
With the first east midlands derby of 2013/14 all set for Saturday afternoon, Samu Manoa is relishing the challenge facing the Saints, claiming when the two sides meet he gets a ‘championship game’ feeling.
Last time Tigers and Saints locked horns was of course an Aviva Premiership title deciding game at Twickenham, but while the big American acknowledges the size of the task at hand, he will also be looking to soak up the sold out occasion.
“It’s going to be tough,” he told Wednesday’s press conference. “I’ve played down at Welford Road twice and haven’t won and Leicester are a good side. I enjoy the atmosphere down there and the last few times there’s been some good rugby. Hopefully we can go down there this time and come back with the win.
“It’s like a championship game for me, that’s the feeling I get and it’s going to be a real test. We’ll see what happens later in the season, but I know they are going to be right up there and we’re going to have to play hard and smart this Saturday.”
Jim Mallinder has reported a relatively clean bill of health for the Saints as they prepare to head up the Welford Road and with the Saints coaches happy to rotate their starting XV so far this season, last season’s double player of the year is in the running for a return to the starting XV having been rested for Friday night’s win over Sale.
Having split his time between the second and back rows as well as the bench, Manoa insists the selection flexibility will pay dividends not only for himself, but the entire squad over the coming months.
“I’ve enjoyed the rotation,” he added. “It’s good for me as long as it’s good for the team. Last season I think I played almost every game, but this year we’ll be able to get more of the boys game time and that helps keep everyone fresh because it’s going to be a long season.”
With the game being shown live on BT Sport, you can also follow all the action from Welford Road, plus live stats, at www.saintslive.co.uk - an interactive service for all your matchday needs. Score updates will also be available on Twitter for those on the go!