Leicester Tigers v Saracens, Aviva Premiership, March 5
Top two collide at Welford Road
March 4, 2011
Thomas Waldrom has played a key role in Leicester's blistering form of late © PA Photos
Aviva Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers are out to make it 10 league wins in a row when they host second-placed Saracens in a potential classic at Welford Road on Saturday.
Leicester's early-season inconsistency seems a long time ago now after the most sensational run of form seen in the top flight since Wasps racked up 11 victories on the trot during the 2003-2004 campaign.
However, in Sarries the Tigers are taking on a side that is also brimming with belief at the moment, with their 26-15 victory over Wasps last weekend having extended their winning run in all competitions to five. That they have also beaten Leicester this season, 26-20 at Vicarage Road in early October, will also ensure that Mark McCall's men will travel in confidence.
Leicester - Player to Watch: Saracens got major joy out of the high ball last time out and Leicester fullback Scott Hamilton will need to be squeaky clean against the tactic to take away one of the visitors' weapons.
Leicester - Team News: George Skivington is recalled to the second-row after his release from the England squad, allowing Tom Croft to move into the back-row. Italian international tight-head Martin Castrogiovanni returns among the replacements.
Saracens - Player to Watch: Last weekend's win was all about the kicking of fullback Alex Goode and the England Saxons international will need to take every chance that comes his way at Welford Road.
Saracens - Team News: Sarries have made only one change to their side, with Mouritz Botha starting in the second-row as part of the club's rotation policy. Among the replacements there is a return for Scotland international Kelly Brown.
Key Battle: Sarries will be on guard against the Tigers using their lineout to bring their big ball carriers into the game off first-phase - the battle for the skies is set to be a big area of the contest.
Trivia: Sarries have never before completed a home-and-away double over the Tigers.
Stats: Saracens are the only team to have beaten Leicester at Welford Road in the Premiership since September 2008.
"We've won three from three in the Six Nations period, we're going well, but we know it only takes a couple of dropped points and a couple of wins for others to change things in the table. There is a lot of coming and going with players at this stage of the season, but we're used to that here." - Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill is on his guard.
Fantasy: Tigers back row Thomas Waldrom has racked up an impressive 63 points in this season's ESPNscrum Premiership Fantasy Rugby. Time to include him in your team?
Prediction: Leicester rarely lose on their home track but they will have to fight for it every step of the way this weekend.
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