Play-off bonus for Tigers
Leicester boss Richard Cockerill knows his side's Premiership bid has been assisted by the play-offs.
Last Updated: 22/05/12 7:04pm
Leicester director of rugby Richard Cockerill goes into the Aviva Premiership final knowing his side have been assisted by the play-off system.
Finalists for seven successive seasons, the Tigers would have been out of the running for the trophy at the completion of the regular rounds, finishing second to Saturday's opponents Harlequins by a point.
Although the London side have excelled this term, Leicester can point to a turbulent start to the campaign that saw them struggle without their World Cup stars and languish in 11th place at one stage as a reason why they are not top dogs.
As a result, they needed a late run of form - they have won 11 games in a row in all competitions leading into Saturday - to make sure they extended their season, with a 24-15 semi-final win over last season's champions Saracens seeing them through to the showpiece.
Without the play-offs that would not have been possible, and Cockerill is a fan of the system owing to the demands that are placed on playing squads.
"In the current structure of the season, when we are playing autumn internationals and the Six Nations, I think this is the only way to do it," he said.
"You can't legislate for having eight, nine or 10 guys on international duty and still be confident of finishing as champions, because you might need a lot of luck.
"You might do it, or you might finish fourth. Generally the best team finishes top - we have finished top and won and lost finals. That's how it is.
"Quins are top this year and that is fantastic for them, but the champions will be the team that win on Saturday and that is how it is."