Leicester look unbeatable at home :Corry

In the latest instalment of his Guinness Premiership blog, former Leicester Tigers and England captain Martin Corry gives his thoughts on the final round of matches coming up this weekend.


“Heineken Cup semi-final weekend without an English side has raised questions about the quality of the Guinness Premiership. But after the last few weeks of the Guinness Premiership it is easier to defend the standard as teams now have more confidence that they can keep hold of the ball and can therefore show their attacking flair and intentions.


“The impact of the Lions tour however may also play a part in the form of the British and Irish clubs in Europe. A look at the Six Nations shows that France have won the last four Championships the year after a Lions tour which illustrates the strain the tour places on the players.


“In the Guinness Premiership, the early exit of the English clubs in Europe mean that most of the players go into the final week of the league season with the luxury of having had a week off. Only London Wasps who lost their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final to a powerful Cardiff Blues, had to play last week.


“Bath Rugby who had a remarkable three wins in eight games, would have needed the break more than most. Their wins over Northampton Saints and especially last week away to London Wasps at Twickenham sees them gain the all important fourth spot, which after starting 2010 in eleventh spot is one hell of a turn around.


“For Bath to guarantee their semi-final spot they have to beat Leeds Carnegie at the Rec. When you look at Leeds’ journey this season, a huge amount of credit must be placed at Neil Back and Andy Keys’ door. At the turn of the year they looked dead certs to go down.


“At first, they started getting close and were picking up losing bonus points but then found the extra edge which turned the narrow defeat into victories. The mental toughness developed by being in dogfights throughout the year was crucial in Leeds’ all important win against the sadly departed Worcester Warriors.


“Worcester, with just three wins so far, deserved to be relegated. When it came to the crucial games they didn’t offer enough in attack and were too passive in defence. Their curtain call will be an emotional day at home to Gloucester Rugby. Worcester will be back and Cecil Duckworth deserves to have a side in the top tier.


“Leicester Tigers, having cemented top spot with a game to go can rest the odd niggly injury in their final league game at home to Saracens although, with no game last weekend, the issue of keeping the squad fresh and battle hardened becomes a real quandary.


“Tigers look unbeatable at Welford Road at the moment and will want to lay down a marker to a Saracens side who they could be meeting in the semi or Final.


“Saints have had a little wobble of late losing their last two games by just a point. The loss to Sarries guarantees that one semi-final will be between these two sides. In the final game the all important home venue is what’s up for grabs. Saints, who over the year have been the most consistent of performers, will realise that at this stage of the season that counts for nothing.


“The brutality of the play-off system means that either the team who were unbeaten until Round 11 or the most consistent team in the competition will be eliminated before the Final.


“The final semi-final spot looks to be going to Bath, although London Irish’s demise stemmed from underestimating Leeds. Wasps by losing to Bath are dependent on Leeds to give them hope but it looks like it will be Leicester and Bath battling in the other semi-final.


“Bath were soundly beaten at Leicester in round 18 but the axis of Watson, James and Barkley is constantly improving, can they get the quality of ball they require against Leicester?


“Looking to next season and the English representatives in the Heineken Cup will be Tigers, Sain

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