Tigers boss eyes big victory
TIGERS' Director of Rugby Tim Fourie has never hidden his high regard for Saturday's opponents Nottingham, but he intends to use it as a motivating tool when the two meet at Park Lane (kick-off 2.30pm).
"I've always liked Nottingham as a rugby club," he said: "I like their set-up, they have a lot of youngsters who play for each other and they generally play 15-man rugby, although I gather they are placing more emphasis on their forward game this season.
"They had a poor start to the season but are coming good right now. However, we have beaten them in the past and we can, and must, beat them again on Saturday. To achieve that we will have to get stuck into them up front and win clean ball."
However, he is still faced with an injury pile-up that continues to deny him the services of Chris Wilkinson, Tom Albinson, Gareth Roberts, Jaco Swart, Chris Hall and Saula Roko, although Arno De Jager may be fit this weekend, which would allow him to move one or two players around.
"If Cut' is fit we may be able to put Andy Vilk at 12 and move Chris Briers onto the wing," he said.
"'Vilky' did very well at fullback against Plymouth, in fact he was probably our best player. But his preferred position is inside centre, so we may try and accommodate him there especially if he continues to carry the ball as well as he has done because we need reliable ball carriers."
In the forwards Sale Sharks may well allow loan players, prop Martin Halsall and lock Ben Lloyd to return to Park Lane, which would again give options up front.
"If Lloydy' is available we will look at the second row combination and go for either Lloydy' and me or Lloydy' and Ed Norris.
"If Halsall is available he will go straight in to tight head with Gerallt Evans swapping back to loose head.
"In particular we have to address our lineouts, so that may also mean a change at hooker, even though it's a team thing. At the moment we are slow and pedestrian but we have been working on ways to turn them around."
"In general we have to stop panicking when we have possession and realise that we sometimes have to slow things down and accept that we cannot score every time we have the ball. We have to respect our possession, use the ball intelligently and not kick possession away; the miracle play is not always there."
Nottingham currently lie 10th with 24 points, having beaten Waterloo, Plymouth, London Welsh and Bedford last Saturday - the only away win coming at Welsh.
l TIGERS' Fijian serviceman Ledua Jope was in the Combined Services side that faced the Barbarians in the annual Remembrance match at Monk's Lane, Newbury on Tuesday.