The East Midlands bragging rights are on the line for the first time this season on Saturday, and we’ve crunched the numbers ahead of Northampton Saints’ crucial visit to Welford Road to face Leicester Tigers in Round 17 of the Gallagher Premiership.
Tigers’ tough South African import, Jasper Wiese, has done a lot of damage so far this season in the Gallagher Premiership.
The big No.8 has impressed with his ball carrying, making both the hard yards and striding into space for 553 metres from 130 carries.
That makes Wiese Leicester’s go-to option with ball in hand, with only Freddie Steward making more ground (667 metres) and beating more defenders (41) – the young fullback continuing to stand out in an experienced backline at Welford Road.
Games involving Tigers have, on average, seen the most penalties given overall. In fact, sides playing against Leicester concede the most in the league (14.2), while only London Irish give up more than Steve Borthwick’s men (12.9).
Saints fare better in this area; with the second best average count this season (11.3). They also benefit from receiving the third-most penalties (12.8).
The card count is also with the men in Black, Green and Gold. Their East Midlands neighbours having seen more than double the number for their indiscretions (Tigers = 13 yellow, 3 red; Saints = 7 yellow, 0 red).
Historically, Leicester’s game has been built on a solid foundation, and this season has been no different under Steve Borthwick.
Their lineout success (90%) and scrum win rate (91.6%) are both among the Premiership’s best – especially impressive given they have been involved in the second most set-pieces overall. Saints are also going well in both categories (87.7% and 89.5% respectively) but will have to work hard to tame the Tigers’ set-piece set-up on Saturday.
On opposition ball, Callum Green has proved to be one of the most disruptive jumpers out there, stealing five lineouts (fifth in the league) – although he comes up against one of the most reliable operators in the league in David Ribbans (54 lineouts won, sixth overall)