Jim Mallinder frosty on Richard Cockerill relationship

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder has hinted at tension existing between him and Leicester counterpart Richard Cockerill.

The two teams continue their long-standing rivalry in Saturday's Premiership clash.

Mallinder told BBC Look East that he and Cockerill have "different" approaches to the game.

"I don't really want to say [what] the differences [are]. The outside world can see the differences," he said.

"I think that's probably enough said."

In March Saints forward Calum Clark was cited - and later banned for 32 weeks - for breaking the elbow of Leicester's Rob Hawkins.

Mallinder was angered when Cockerill described the incident as "a pretty poor act" and "really out of order" before the verdict was passed on the length of Clark's suspension.

Ahead of the weekend encounter at Franklin's Gardens, Mallinder responded to a question about his relationship with Cockerill by concentrating on the Tigers' success, rather than the man at the helm.

"I admire what Leicester have done. They're a terrific, successful club," he said.

"They are competitive every single match and have won a lot of competitions, therefore I admire that side of things."

The latest instalment between the local rivals will go a long way to deciding whether either will secure a Premiership play-off berth.

Mallinder, whose side are four points behind the third-placed Tigers, insists his squad will have a quiet build-up to the game.

"There's always enough going on that it's not up to me or the players to shout out and tell the world what's happening," he said.

"We like to go about our business behind closed doors as quietly as we possibly can.

"Of course there's talk in the changing room and the excitement is there. But we just want to build that up and come to a crescendo on Saturday."

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