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Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers - five of the best

The rivals will face each other at Franklin’s Gardens later today. Photo: PA

We take a look back at some of the best games between one of the biggest rivalries in rugby, Northampton Saints against Leicester Tigers.

37 miles separates the two rugby giants who have produced some of the most fierce games of rugby in Aviva Premier Rugby history.

Northampton Saints 31 Leicester Tigers 36 – March 2017

Back in March, the Tigers triumphed in a very even encounter which ended 36-31 at Franklin’s Gardens in Aaron Mauger’s emotional last game in charge of the club.

Saints scored tries through Nafi Tuitavake, Ahsee Tuala and Louis Picamoles but suffered defeat to the long-range Owen Williams penalty late on in the game.

Northampton Saints 24 Leicester Tigers 30 – April 2016

Echoing last season’s fixture at Franklin’s Gardens, this game saw the old rivals competing not only for bragging rights but also desperately trying to reach the Aviva Premiership Rugby play-offs.

Tigers' stand-off Freddie Burns got the afternoon underway before Harry Thacker saw his moment to shine, bouncing off two Saints tackles before showing them a clean set of heels and a dummy as he scored a famous try under the posts.

Myler and Teimana Harrison responded for the home side before Niki Goneva scored to put Tigers 17-10 up.

It was too close to call for the majority of the game but when George Pisi went over before Burns also crossed the line – a 77th minute JJ Hanrahan penalty saw the Saints in touching distance of a memorable come back but Leicester just about managed to hold on.

Fans will be hoping that Franklin's Gardens will host another classic today. Credit: PA

Northampton Saints 21 Leicester Tigers 20 – May 2014 Northampton fans will relish the memories of this game for years to come after they edged a dramatic semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens on their way to winning the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final in 2014.

Saints skipper, Phil Dowson, had an early try ruled out before Matthew Tait’s breakaway gave Manu Tuilagi the opportunity to score.

Leicester and England scrum-half, Ben Youngs, finished off a Logovi’i Mulipola burst. Saints responded Myler responded with a penalty before a red card for Salesi Ma’afu’ looked to have quelled the fightback in what was a feisty encounter.

Wales winger, George North, got the hosts back in it after he picked up from a catch and drive. Owen Williams’ late penalty looked to have sealed things for Tigers but a sweeping Saints move found Tom Wood in the corner who bulldozed his way over the line and into the final.

Leicester Tigers 19 Northampton Saints 19 – October 2013

Northampton were looking for their first win at Welford Road in six years, and probably came away feeling that they missed a golden opportunity in a ferociously intense game that saw three yellow cards shown.

Saints led 9-6 at half-time thanks to three Stephen Myler penalties. The club found themselves teetering on a historic win as British & Irish Lions prop, Alex Corbisiero, scored a try in the second half.

Jim Mallinder’s side looked utterly dominant but when another surging attack ended with Sam Dickinson held up over the line you could hear the voices whispering ‘if you don’t take your chances’.

The close shave seemed to spur the hosts on and after yellow cards for Louis Deacon and Courtney Lawes, Ed Slater rumbled over at the death to allow Toby Flood a conversion that broke Northamptonshire hearts.

Toby Flood kicking a conversion for Tigers. Credit: PA

Leicester Tigers 11 Northampton Saints 3 – May 2011

This may have been a low-scoring affair but it was a gritty game as ever between the two titans.

Toby Flood’s penalty was the only score in a first-half that saw Leicester’s Manu Tuilagi and Northampton’s Chris Ashton sin-binned for an early altercation.

Stephen Myler got Saints’ only points of the day but Flood restored Tigers’ lead and the older Tuilagi, Alesana, settled things with his try in the corner nine minutes from time, piledriving through Bruce Reihana.

The game bore witness to tremendous defensive efforts from both sides, but it was Leicester who edged through to a seventh successive Aviva Premiership Rugby final.

Chris Ashton had to receive treatment after the altercation with Manu Tuilagi. Credit: PA