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By Seany_boy
February 22 2018

Half way through the six nations and players missing left right and centre for both teams, it's back to the premiership action for Saracens and Leicester Tigers on Sunday 25th February 2018 at Allianz Park.

Pre 2009 this fixture would often go the way of the Tigers with Saracens being lucky if they could get a bonus point out any fixture with the dominating Leicester Tigers. Roll on 8 to 9 years and the tides have turned, Saracens have been the team to beat for the past 3 to 4 years and definitely have bragging rights over tigers in recent fixtures. Leicester Tigers themselves have had a mixed season but because of their tradition and past dominance it has been below par for the most successful team in the English premiership. They do have 10 tittles to their name with the most Recent coming in 2013.  Wasps sit second with 6 titles and Saracens who have been in dominance in recent season's sit in 3rd with 3 titles. Leicester Tigers are always there or there abouts come the end of the season and have qualified for the play offs for the the past 13 season's. However that record is under threat this season as Tigers set in 7th in the league and and currently 5 points away from the top 4. There is still plenty of rugby to be played as we approach the business end of the season. We have to take into account the form of the teams above tigers aside from Bath who are in 6th who seem to be a bit hit and miss this season the other 5 (Newcastle, Gloucester, Wasps, Exeter and Saracens) have found form and at just the right point in the season. Meaning it could be difficult for tigers to grab that all Important 4th spot. Their run in is also quite difficult, they travel to Top of the table Saracens this weekend and do not have a great record on the artificial surface. After a tough trip to Allianz park, Tigers travel to a resurgent Worcester Warriors and have to play on yet another artificial pitch. Aside from those two trips Leicester still have to play Wasps and Newcastle who currently sit above them in the league standings as well as a midlands Derby at Welford road v Saints and then a trip to Sale on the final day of the season! It's difficult to see where the victories Tigers need are going to come from.
Last time out they faced a young Harlequins side and won 33-18. Although the scoreline was good in the end it was far from convincing by Tigers and Thompstone crossed in the final minutes with an interception try to make sure tigers gained victory, only scored 3 tries so did miss out on a try bonus point. A special mention to Matt Toomua who was Influential in the win, he was involved in many key moments and assisted in tries with his superb vision and line breaks, Toomua also crossed the whitewash himself. He controlled proceedings from an unfavoured Fly Half position, George Ford may well be fighting for the 10 jersey when he returns from six nations duty. 
Although Tigers have players missing through both injury and international duty they do have s triple T threat in their backs (Thompstone, Tuilagi and Toomua)
A potential Leicester Tigers line up could be
Tait, Thompstone, Tuilagi, Toomua, Holmes, J Ford, Harrison, Kalimafoni, O'Connor, Hamilton, Kitchener, Fitzgerald, Mulipola, T Young's ©, Bateman
Polota-Nau, Rizzo, Cilliers, Wells, Williams, Simmons, Veainu, Owen
Saracens regained top spot after a hard fought victory against Sale, (3-13) thanks to a wonderful piece of Skill by Liam Williams to leap over the line and also thanks to the boot of Ben Spencer. After a blip of 7 defeats in all competitions Saracens have rediscovered their winning habit and regained confidence, however they know they will be in for a tough afternoon with at least 10 players missing through International duty and injury. Some of the big names missing are the 6 British and Irish lions (M Vunipola, George, Itoje, Kruis, Farrell and Liam Williams) and also Richard Wigglesworth (England) and Sean Maitland (Scotland) on the injury list are Schalk Brits, Duncan Taylor, Vincent Koch, Mike Rhodes. And Billy Vunipola.
However over recent weeks many players who may be deemed as second choice have stepped up brilliantly, Ben Spencer has made the Scrum half his own and been deadly with the boot taking the pressure off Lozowski who is marshaling from Fly half, Schalk Burger seems to be getting better with Age and Jackson Wray keeps on putting his body on the line week in week out for Saracens. Also our pack has been instrumental in recent victories, good scrummaging from Barrington and Figallo with Tolofua finding his feet at Hooker, Nick Isiekwe has settled in effortlessly in the second row and Alex Goode (who hasn't missed a premiership game all season) just does what he does best from Full Back. 
However the game is going to be won at the breakdown and the strength of the packs is going to vital in who becomes victorious in this clash. Tigers will be favourites in that department so a massive effort from the men in black is required. A win for Sarries will give them confidence when they travel down to Sandy Park to face the champions next week. 
A Sarries line up could look like this
Barrington, Tolofua, Figallo, Isiekwe, Skelton, Clark, Burger, Wray, Spencer, Lozowski, Earle, Barritt ©, Bosch, Wyles, Goode
Spurling, Thompson-Stringer, Longbottom, Flanagan, Earl, Whiteley, Malins, Nick Tompkins
Indeed it is a very young bench but could be crucial
So Saracens will be in the Eye of the tiger and they will looking to continue this winning run. But tigers of course will be looking to upset the party and keep their top 4 hopes alive
Match officials
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys (46th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees : Adam Leal and Peter Allen
TMO: Sean Davey
Citing Officer : Grant Surely
Match prediction: Saracens by 7
(Coming from the Isle of Wight for this one so that's why I'm feeling optimistic!)
Kind regards
Sean Chalkwright

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22/02/2018 17:40
Thanks Sean
Let's hope your optimism is well founded!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:03:05:13:29:03 by Darraghgirl.

Stopsy (IP Logged)
22/02/2018 21:42
Many thanks Seany-boy. Sorry to say but I canít see anything but a loss for us, the only question is the margin. I hope I am as useless in this prediction as many others I have made smiling smiley

The Bard (IP Logged)
23/02/2018 10:12
Certainly wonít be seeing Tolofua ,and probably not until next season

TonyTaff (IP Logged)
24/02/2018 12:16
I have very low expectations of this one.

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