Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers 'unlike any other' - Gibson

Jamie Gibson
Jamie Gibson joined Northampton in the summer after two years at Leicester
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints
Venue: Welford Road Date: Saturday, 9 January 2016 Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio Leicester, BBC Radio Northampton and live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Northampton Saints flanker Jamie Gibson expects to be targeted when he faces his former club Leicester Tigers at Welford Road on Saturday.

The 25-year-old has played 12 times since joining Saints from their East Midlands rivals in the summer.

"If you move away from any club, when you go back there will be a target on your head in some way," Gibson told BBC Radio Northampton.

"Players thrive off it, they enjoy it and it's the way rugby goes."

Ignoring the fans' reaction

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Tigers-Saints is 'biggest rivalry' - Cockerill

Gibson spent two years at Welford Road under Richard Cockerill, but caused some controversy when it was announced he was moving to their rivals.

"When I came down here I got quite a mixed reaction, some people were angry and some people were saying 'good luck, we'll see you in a few months time and we'd like to see you afterwards'," said Gibson.

"You never know (about the reaction of Tigers fans on Saturday). But all that matters is getting out on the pitch, playing as hard as you can and seeing what happens."

Leicester's home stranglehold

Northampton have not won at Welford Road in any competition since a 10-9 league win in 2007, but beat the Tigers in a play-off semi-final at Franklin's Gardens in 2014 on their way to winning the Premiership title.

"Over the last 10 to 15 games Leicester have probably won more, but over the last two or three years they've lost the big games," said Gibson.

"A lot of people also know each other well, whether it be through England or through other teams like Samoa.

"The fans hate each other for two hours on a Saturday afternoon and have a drink afterwards, most of them probably live together or in the next village."

View from Welford Road

Mathew Tait
Mathew Tait has won 38 England caps and played in the 2007 World Cup final against South Africa

The Tigers have won their last 11 home games in the Premiership going into Saturday's derby.

Versatile back Mathew Tait told BBC East Midlands Today: "This is why you come to big clubs like Leicester, to play in big derby matches like this.

"Part of the battle as a player is remaining on task and remaining focused on the details of how you want to play, and not being drawn away in to individual battles and trying to remain on script for the team.

"There is an added something around the place; everyone realises how big this weekend is. The supporters are always very vocal. As a player that is all you really want."

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