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Praise for Leicester Tigers' Slater ahead of Saints clash

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When Tigers' director of rugby Richard Cockerill calls you a "Leicester mute", it is about as a big a compliment as you could ever wish to receive.

That blessing was given to lock-forward Ed Slater after eye-catching performances against Sale and Exeter.

The 24-year-old is quickly becoming one of the most improved players of the season.

And that form has earned him a starting shirt again for the trip to face Northampton today, keeping Graham Kitchener on the bench in the process.

An obvious threat in the line-out, Slater tackles for fun in the loose and the second of his two tries against Sale, at the start of the month, showed a turn of pace over 50 metres that no lock weighing more than 18 stones has the right to make.

With Louis Deacon out for the season with a shoulder injury, Slater is the ideal replacement, according to Cockerill.

"Ed is a really good professional and he wants to learn more about the game," said Cockerill.

"The one thing he does have, which you cannot coach, is grit and attitude.

"He is a tough lad and is a Leicester mute through and through – and that's a compliment!

"For me, Ed is a young Louis Deacon all over with his attitude to the game and the grunt and determination that he gives you.

"He was good at home to Sale and then stepped up again and made big strides at Exeter."

Slater's role will be crucial again at Franklin's Gardens in the engine room alongside Geoff Parling in what is expected to be a bruising encounter.

While Tigers have won the last six meetings between the sides, Cockerill believes their neighbours' recent four-game winning run shows they are fully equipped to have a shot at winning the title.

"Saints had been written off a few weeks ago but they are well in the mix now," said Cockerill. "They are a good side and one that can very much win the competition. With the local rivalry between us and all of the other things that will be in the melting pot, it should be a good game."

Praise for Leicester Tigers' Slater ahead of Saints clash


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