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Making Toby Flood captain was a masterstroke - Martin Crowson's five things

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Martin Crowson looks at five key issues from the weekend.

1 Not only did Leicester Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill completely out-coach his Saints counterpart Jim Mallinder, he could have also pulled off a tactical masterstroke by making Toby Flood the captain. The 27-year-old skippered his second game on the trot and is 2-0 after wins over Exeter and the Saints. Instead of allowing Flood to lose confidence after a disappointing Six Nations, Cockerill has made him completely focus on the job in hand at his club – and Flood is clearly relishing the chance to lead from the front.

2 Tigers' 36-8 win over Saints at Franklin's Gardens was the club's biggest win over the Saints in a meaningful game. Previous highs were 43-4 win over the Saints in the Midland Merit Table, in 1979, and the 47-0 win in a friendly, in 1987. The four tries took Tigers to the top of the Premiership try-scoring charts with 44 and top of the try-bonus-point charts too. Nine points from their remaining three games will now secure a home semi-final in the play-offs too.

3 I thought one of the most exciting Aviva Premiership weekends of the season was greatly helped by some excellent refereeing. I am not sure whether a directive has been issued but they all seem to have got more lenient to the 'holding on' law at the ruck. This has enabled sides going forward to make the most of possession and, as a result, created some wonderfully entertaining rugby across the board. The likes of Greg Garner, JP Doyle and, dare I say it, Wayne Barnes (adopts tin hat) all played their part.

4 One of the biggest wastes of money you will ever see came in the form of sponsored banners left on every seat at a sold-out Franklin's Gardens which read: "Come on you Saints". The home side were hardly ever in the game and the poor old banners littered the stands after the game.

5 If hookER Tom Youngs recovers from his 'stinger' and prop Logovi'i Mulpiola suffers no ill-effect from his leg injury, Tigers will head to Toulon with a virtually full strength squad to choose from. For English teams to have any chance against the big-spending French sides, they need all of their big guns firing and Leicester will have their big guns not only fit, but in good form too.

Making Toby Flood captain was a masterstroke - Martin Crowson's five things


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