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Our best performance of the season - Leicester Tigers' boss

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Delighted Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill believes a home Aviva Premiership semi-final is now "there for the taking".

Tigers put seven points between themselves and third-placed Harlequins after a record 36-8 win over Northampton at Franklin's Gardens.

They earned a seventh consecutive win over their old enemy and scored four tries in 33 second-half minutes to turn a 12-3 half-time lead into an absolute rout by the final whistle.

With just three Aviva Premiership games remaining until the play-offs, Leicester are now firm favourites to secure a top-two finish with games against Wasps, Bath and London Irish to come.

"It was the best we have played this season. Our set-piece and our defence were very good," said Cockerill.

"Our attitude was impressive and the lads were outstanding in what they did.

"We were on the front foot for most of the game and the result was fantastic for us because, with Harlequins losing at Gloucester on Friday night, that second spot is there for the taking.

"We were good up front, our half-backs were good and Ant Allen was fantastic in midfield.

"That was also the best Manu Tuilagi has played this season. Across the board, we were top drawer and the likes of Mat Tait, Tom Croft and Geoff Parling were all outstanding."

Captain Toby Flood was perfect with his kicking boot in the first half, but it was after the interval that the visitors really exploded out of the blocks.

Saints' famed driving maul was completely nullified by Tigers superb defence and the hosts had no Plan B.

Cockerill said that defensive effort came out of a brutal training session at Oval Park last Tuesday.

We thought they would come at us hard up front and our attitude was to fight fire with fire at the line-out and try to keep them on the back foot," said Cockerill. "We wanted to be positive with and without the ball.

"It's no secret that if you can stop Saints at the set-piece and in the maul, they will struggle to get rhythm in their game – and that was the case.

"We spent all Tuesday morning last week brawling against each other on line-out drives. We did half-a-dozen scrums and then spent the rest of the 90 minutes doing line-out drive defence.

"If we could stop that, we would take their game away and there was a point in the second half where they kept going for line-out drives and couldn't score.

"For me, that was the moment we won the game. Psychologically, they were done then."

Our best performance of the season - Leicester Tigers' boss


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