Teams announced for Saints v Tigers

This weekend it’s Semi-Final time in the Aviva Premiership and it’s going to be a blinking good one, for neutrals as well as the fans of the teams involved.

Quins nabbed the final play-off position from Bath at the last minute at the Stoop on Saturday to face top of the table Saracens this Saturday. I felt for Bath to be denied in the way they were but to fair, Harlequins have played well to come back from a pretty poor start of the season. As we’ve said before, it’s the nature of the beast when it comes to the play-offs.

Of course Sarries have been at the top of the table pretty much all season whereas Quins just got through but don’t forget that there was a similar situation last year when fourth place Saints went to Allianz Park as underdogs to top of the table Saracens, romping their way to a 13-27 victory! So I’ll be interested to see how Saturday turns out.

Saint Burda

The main attraction

But tomorrow’s action is what gets me most excited about this weekend of rugby. Yes I’m a Saints fan, this we all know but the Franklins Gardens Friday night lights are going to fall on a pretty epic battle between old foe, Saints and Tigers. A Midlands Derby is always worth a look in, we’re two of the best sides in the prem, plus the added spice to the rivalry always adds a little extra. But throw in the mix that it’s the Semi-Finals, it’s at home AND there’s a score to settle after we lost to them at last year’s Aviva Premiership Final under a veil of controversy... well quite frankly I’m nearly wetting myself. I just hope that the game lives up to the hype and I think that it will.

Franklins Gardens Kerry LeeseAfter interviewing the squad each week this season for the Saints podcast, I’ve had a glimpse into the team. There’s definitely been a shift this season but most notably in the last few weeks, in what the guys are saying mid week in press conferences, how they’re saying it and how they then follow up at the weekend with a performance that says they’ve really worked hard to improve. I suppose that it’s a self-assurance, a confidence, neither of which are cocky but seem to say “we’re ready for this and we’ll let our game talk”. They’re more composed. And after a rather long stint of being the proverbial bridesmaids, it’s great to see. I think that we’re in with a bleeding good chance.

Kerry Leese Northampton SaintsTrue, we haven’t got the best record against Leicester but I think that we’re on track for the form of our lives. Don’t forget only one of Leicester’s eight Semi-Final wins has been away from home (Gloucester 2008) plus we’ve got that all important 16th player – the home crowd!

We can help to make the difference, Phil Dowson told me on Tuesday (the interview is included in the Saints podcast which is free to listen to/download from SoundCloud). So warm up those vocal cords, get on your green, black and gold and sing your hearts out, if only to drown me out!

The team

So here are the teams announced, what do you reckon? Any head to heads that you’re excited about? I’m not sure where to start but I’m hoping that Mathew Tait is on form (but not that great, I’m still a Saint) as he’s a great player. Gonova is always a delight to watch and I’m really excited about the clash of the centres, some really physical players there. Oh man alive I’m excited!

Aviva Premiership Semi-Final
Franklin’s Gardens
Kick off 7:45pm

Saints

15 Ben FODEN
14 Ken PISI
13 George PISI
12 Luther BURRELL
11 George NORTH
10 Stephen MYLER
9 Kahn FOTUALI’I
1 Alex WALLER
2 Mike HAYWOOD
3 Salesi MA’AFU
4 Samu MANOA
5 Courtney LAWES
6 Tom WOOD
7 Phil DOWSON (capt)
8 Sam DICKINSON

Replacements
16 Ross MCMILLAN
17 Alex CORBISIERO
18 Tom MERCEY
19 Christian DAY
20 Calum CLARK
21 Lee DICKSON
22 James WILSON
23 Tom STEPHENSON

Tigers

15 Mathew Tait
14 Niall Morris
13 Manusamoa Tuilagi
12 Dan Bowden
11 Vereniki Goneva
10 Toby Flood
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Tom Youngs
3 Logovi’i Mulipola
4 Louis Deacon
5 Ed Slater (c)
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Jordan Crane

Replacements

16 Neil Briggs
17 Tom Bristow
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Graham Kitchener
20 Steve Mafi
21 David Mele
22 Owen Williams
23 Adam Thompstone

Corbs demonstrating the #yesmovement

Corbs demonstrating the #yesmovement

And don’t forget to get on the #yesmovement. Alex Corbisiero is a huge wrestling fan and wants the fans to get this chant going around the Gardens. It’s simple and come on, it’s Corbs. I wouldn’t argue with him!

Come On You Saints!

Kerry

 

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What the ruck?

Yes, this is a rugby post as you might have noticed. Unfortunately getting time for this my personal blog is somewhat at the moment as the Smelly Boy and I are buying a house. I could go on about that for hours but focus Kerry, focus!

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This blog has always had split personalities but it’s about time that one of those personalities goes off on its merry way. As you know, I originally started blogging so I had a place to talk about my mini adventures on the trail to the big personal and professional adventures of travel, broadcast etc.

But I feel that the rugby and sport stuff needs a dedicated home so I’m going to get that on the go. I’ve got some ideas on names but as always, I’m open to ideas… Comment below!

A sunny date at the rugga

So what will be in this new snazzy blog you ask? The stuff of dreams, that’s what, particularly if you’re a rugby union fan! It will concentrate mainly on the rugga but as you’ve probably come to expect, it will have other musings about sporty stuff. Once again, let me know if there’s something you’re particularly interested in. I’ve already had a request to write on about the traffic situation when Saints and Cobblers play on the same day! Nothing but rock and roll here 🙂

So let me know your suggestions on blog subjects or names.

Kerry

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Should there be premiership play offs?

So it’s a pretty hardcore subject for an early Sunday afternoon but as we’re coming to the end of round 16 of the Aviva Premiership. Before we know it, it’ll be 31st May and the final at Twickenham but which of our favourite teams will be making an appearance?

Northampton Saints and Saracens seem dead certs for the final four but as we saw last season, that doesn’t mean they’ll make the final. Last season I took great delight, as a Saints fan, in a much improved performance against Sarries in the semi-final. It saw Saints go through to the final even though Sarries had been on better form for much of the season. I won’t go on to talk about the final; it still pains me!

But one simple question: is it fair?

The play-offs have been with us for the past decade or so but is it really fair that a team play fantastically all season, come in at poll position but have a bad semi final and finish third or fourth?

It doesn’t happen all that often I’ll give you that. Saracens’ defeat to Saints (thought I’d pop it in there again!) meant that they were only the second team to miss out on the final after finishing at number one, Gloucester the first in 2008. And you might even argue that it adds a bit more excitement to the competition. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts!

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So that went well!

Hello from the BT Sport studio!

You may have noticed that it’s been a while since my last post. My good intentions of doing a post a day during December didn’t go so well… oops never mind.

As it’s too late to do a December post now, for that matter it’s a bit late for January and February, I’ll just get on and start talking rugby. 

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Post a day 8

This post’s a little late in the day but it’s been a busy one and I’m shattered. In fact, I’d probably be asleep were it not for the Smelly Boy having told me some potentially bad news re: a house we’re interested in buying. I’ve not explained that though have I? Well, we’re looking to a buy a house and after quite a long time searching we’ve found something that we like. It’s by no means perfect but it has the potential which is what we’ve been looking for.

Anyhoo, I was struggling to shut the old noggin off and after he dropped that little gem of a thought, that we might miss out on the house,  I’m struggling even more despite being so tired. Right I’m moaning, so… what’s been occurring today?

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I’m not sure if you’ve ready my business blog but I do some work for Northampton Saints on their podcast. Wednesdays are press day so I was down at Franklin’s Gardens earlier for a chat with the guys and then onto the fun task of editing.

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When I got back from the Gardens, I found a lovely little belated birthday pressie. Thanks my lovely boys, my tea consumption is about to go through the roof!

The weather’s been a bit suspect too. At the moment that I was going to take a picture of a lovely low hazy winter sun at about 4 today, my phone rang.

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I took the call and about five minutes later the sun had gone and it felt like I was transported to some Dickensian tale (other than the modern houses etc. of course!)

And to finish off, I’m currently brewing some ginger beer, or at least the early stages of ginger beer, for Christmas. It’s really starting to bubble as it starts to ferment. The smell is lovely and it’s great when you have a tasty homemade product at the end of it!

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On that note, I’m off to bed. Good night and see you tomorrow!

Kerry

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Post a day 7

Today’s post is all for charity mate!

You’ll know that I present on the Tuesday After Eight show on Radio Nene Valley. Tonight I’m interviewing two talented chaps from Northampton who have created a Christmas single to raise funds for Northampton General Hospital’s children’s Disney and Paddington wards which need life saving equipment.

Not just that, it happens to be a blinking good song so why not have a listen, follow the instructions to buy, find yourself singing along and helping children who are poorly. Simples! (Sorry, it fit!)

How to buy

Download on iTunes for £0.79p

Amazon for £0.89p

GooglePlay for £0.99p

BandCamp (Which allows you to donate any sum you like).

And when you’ve done that, please share as far and wide as you possibly can. It’d be nice to see how far it gets! Anyone in Northampton, MA reading…?

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Save Ripper Street

I know that this isn’t the most important or pressing issue this winter but I was completely aghast to hear that the incredible drama Ripper Street is being cancelled.

The second series of the crime thrillers, produced by Tiger Aspect, Look Out Point and brought to us by BBC, is due to finish next week and it’s not disappointed. But apparently it’s not reached the rating required to commission a third. I’m gutted!

As someone who works in the industry and is also an avid fan, I find it quite unbelievable that such a fantastic production would be anything less than highly awarded. Together with the likes of Call The Midwife, it’s become one of the best things about winter viewing. The BBC is renown for this type of production and along with Wild Burma, Simon Reeves (anything by him, the man’s wonderful) it genuinely excites me.

If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about then click here oh soon to be mesmerised reader and catch up on series two on the iPlayer. Or better still, you can ask Father Christmas for the first series too!

If I’m to be impartial, the first in this current, second, series was a little slow but it set up a great series and I’m really quite gutted. If you’re like me, quite disturbingly disappointed by the cancellation, you can sign this petition. Hopefully it’ll help to reverse the decision. I understand that the BBC has a tight budget being funded by us taxpayers but Ripper Street shouldn’t fall victim. After all, Smelly Boy and I haven’t had the time to buy our beautiful Victorian property with fireplace and take in a series whilst toasting marshmallows!

Don’t make a grown woman cry!

Kerry

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