Jordan Crane says next two games are crucial for Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers back-row forward Jordan Crane believes his side's next two games will have a major bearing on the outcome of their season.
Tigers travel to Harlequins tomorrow to play the side they replaced at the top of the Aviva Premiership last weekend.
Then, in eight days' time, Tigers play host to Saracens, who are currently third in the table.
"It is a massive game," said Crane looking forward to tomorrow's trip to the Stoop.
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"The next two weeks will play a big part in where we finish, whether we are home or away in a semi-final.
"If we win both of the games, we will be in a great position. If we lose, then we are looking up at the other teams hoping they will slip up.
"So it is a massive two or three weeks with the England players away.
"It is a great challenge for some of the guys who don't always play in the big games."
Tigers will at least get three of their England contingent back for the Harlequins encounter as the Six Nations championship takes a break this weekend.
Toby Flood, Manu Tuilagi and Thomas Waldrom have all been released by England, while Quins will have influential scrum-half Danny Care back in their line-up.
"To get the England players back in the side is always good," said Crane, who has appeared in a dozen of Tigers' Premiership outings so far this season.
"It makes us even stronger. It is just disappointing that we can't have all the players back when we have crucial games coming up."
Quins, the defending champions, were 22-9 winners when the sides met at Welford Road in September, but the sides are now locked at the top of the table on 47 points after 14 matches.
The top two will earn home semi-finals in the play-offs, so the outcome of tomorrow's clash could prove critical in the final standings.
Tigers travel having beaten London Welsh 28-12 last week, while Quins were pipped 17-16 at home by Wasps.
"We will go there with good spirit," said Crane. "We are on a good run and, even though we aren't playing our best, we are still picking up points."