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Northampton Saints forwards coach Phil Dowson admitted that his side experienced two “chastening experiences” against Leicester Tigers during the league phase of the Premiership campaign.
Saints will be determined to bounce back from their 55-26 home defeat and 35-20 away loss when they face their East Midlands rivals again in Saturday’s Premiership semi-final at Welford Road.
Northampton will be chasing their first appearance in a Premiership final since they won the 2013/14 tournament – the same season that they claimed a narrow 21-20 victory over the Tigers in their semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens.
They face a tough challenge this weekend as Leicester are yet to lose at Welford Road this season and they finished at the top of the Premiership standings during the regular season after winning 20 out of 24 matches played.
“It feels pretty special,” said Dowson, who is set to replace Chris Boyd as Northampton’s director of rugby at the end of the season.
“We have worked hard to give ourselves an opportunity in a semi-final, and it’s exciting.”
Saints reached the playoff after winning six of their last seven Premiership fixtures.
Amongst those victories were a late fightback at Bath and a 32-21 home triumph against defending champions Harlequins.
“We have put a run together, and that is what we had to do with the position we found ourselves in,” said Dowson.
“It is clear as day when you are sat in ninth position that you have to start winning some games.
“That put a little bit of pressure on us, and the players responded in a brilliant way. Some of our performances have been excellent, and we are in a position now where we can have a crack at it.
“We have taken a hiding twice (against Leicester), and they have been chastening experiences, particularly in a local derby.
“We have to learn our lessons from that and it is clear for us in terms of getting our game on the field and dealing with their very aggressive and dominant performances.
“How we manage to get ourselves into the game is integral to the success of our game-plan. We have to be physical and we have to be disciplined.
“The derbies are incredibly special, and playing in a semi-final is also an incredibly special occasion.
“We’ve had two East Midlands derbies this season, and we haven’t been brilliant in them.”
READ MORE: Premiership: ‘The only week that matters is the one you’re in’ says Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick
The article Premiership: Northampton Saints keen to avenge Leicester Tigers losses says Phil Dowson appeared first on Planetrugby.com.