Croft ready for final fling

Saracens hold the edge over Leicester in recent meetings

Last Updated: 25/05/11 6:36pm

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Croft: expecting tough test from Saracens at Twickenham

Croft: expecting tough test from Saracens at Twickenham

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Saracens' regular-season victories over the Leicester will count for nothing in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham, according to Tigers flanker Tom Croft.

The Watford-based side have had the beating of the east Midlands giants in their last three league meetings, claiming a win at Welford Road at the end of last season before doing the double over the reigning champions this term.

The two sides now meet in the Grand Final on Saturday for the second consecutive year, with Leicester winning the 2010 showpiece thanks to a late Dan Hipkiss try.

"They beat us home and away in the league, which is disappointing, but this game is not about those results, it's about putting in a performance worthy of winning that cup."
Tom Croft Quotes of the week

And Croft is adamant that a Twickenham showdown will make for a very different set of circumstances from their league meetings, although he acknowledges the threat posed by Mark McCall's side.

"We are expecting a very tough test," he said. "They beat us home and away in the league, which is disappointing, but this game is not about those results, it's about putting in a performance worthy of winning that cup.

"We know we have to work on certain areas of our game. They will pose different threats (to semi-final opponents) Northampton.

"They have a strong scrum that we will need to wear down, because if they start making headway there they have backs who are capable of scoring from anywhere.

"They pose a big challenge and it will be a tough one."

Dynasty

Leicester will go in search of a third straight Premiership title, in their seventh successive final, with rugby director Richard Cockerill and head coach Matt O'Connor in attendance after the RFU took no action against them over allegations they had used foul and abusive language towards referee assessor Brian Campsall during their last-four win over Northampton.

But they will be without powerful centre Manu Tuilagi after the 20-year-old was handed a five-week ban for his three-punch attack on England winger Chris Ashton during their punishing 11-3 semi-final success.

And Croft admits it is a blow for Tigers to be without the England World Cup contender.

"It will be a loss but someone will step up," he said. "What happened, happened. You wish it hadn't but it has and you have to carry on.

"He will learn, he is a young guy who is a bright prospect and it's about learning at his age."

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