Richard Cockerill: Leicester Tigers 'energised' by facing Northampton

Play-off will be a cracker - Cockerill

Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill says matches against Northampton Saints energise his side.

The two sides meet at Franklin's Gardens on Friday for the right to meet either Saracens or Harlequins in the Premiership final.

Cockerill told BBC East Midlands Today: "We raise our game. There is no getting away from that we are always motivated to win against Northampton.

"We don't take them lightly and have a huge amount of respect for them."

The Tigers finished third in the table, four points behind Northampton and 13 adrift of league winners Saracens, but Cockerill believes his side can rise to the occasion.

"We have a knack of hanging in there even when we are struggling a little bit," he added.

"We are a resilient bunch. We had a tough year, but there are no tomorrows, so we have to get it right."

Leicester have won the Premiership title four times in the last seven seasons and beat Northampton in last year's final.

"In the last nine years, we have either won the championship or been in the play-offs," said Cockerill.

"The assumption is you should be there every year. We would love to get to the final and we would love to win it.

"We are not giving up on retaining the title and we have to deal with what is in front of us.

"We have a good record in semi-finals. We have won away before in the semi-finals. It is all for us to play for."