Leicester Tigers: Wikis


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Leicester Tigers
Leicester tigers badge.png
Full name Leicester Football Club
Founded 1880
Location Leicester, England
Ground(s) Welford Road
Capacity 24,000
Chairman England Peter Tom
Coach(es) England Richard Cockerill
Captain(s) (Ireland) Geordan Murphy
League(s) Guinness Premiership
2008-09 Champions
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Leicester Football Club (nicknamed Leicester Tigers) is an English rugby union club that plays in the Guinness Premiership. The club has been the most successful English club of the professional era, winning the Heineken Cup twice and the league five times under the captaincy of Martin Johnson, all in the space of seven years.

Leicester are one of only four teams (along with Gloucester, Bath and Wasps) never to have been relegated from the top division, and they have never finished a league season below 6th position. They are also the only English side to have qualified to play in every Heineken Cup in which English teams have participated. The club's turnover for 2007/08 was £15.65 million. [1]

Leicesters biggest rivals are Bath, London Wasps and Northampton Saints. The rivalry with Northampton is known as the East Midlands Derby.



Early years

Leicester Football Club was formed in a meeting held in the city's George Hotel on August 1880 by the merger of three smaller teams: Leicester Societies AFC, Leicester Amateur FC and Leicester Alert. That October, the new club wore black for their first game against Moseley at the Belgrave Cricket and Cycle Ground.

It was not until five years or so later that the nickname "Tigers" was first used, the Leicester Daily Post reporting that "the Tiger stripes were keeping well together". The origin of the nickname is uncertain, but it may have come from The Royal Leicestershire Regiment, which received the nickname after serving in India. An alternative theory is that the team wore a brown and yellow striped shirt. In their early years, they were also known as "The Death or Glory Boys". The now-famous scarlet, green and white jerseys were not introduced until 1891, although these were in a vertical stripe formation until the distinctive hoops were first worn in September 1895.

They moved in 1892 to their present ground at Welford Road, Leicester. Having won the Midlands Cup every year from 1898 to 1905, they dropped out "to give other teams a chance".[citation needed]

In the 1926/27 season, Leicester started using letters to identify their forwards, expanding the practice by 1931/32 to the whole team.

Post war

With the arrival of Chalkie White in 1968, things began to improve significantly. He was a very progressive coach who demanded high standards of fitness and tactics. His unique style of coaching brought success on the pitch, and with that success came increased attendances.

Leicester started to grow as a club towards the end of the 1970s. At the start of the decade, the club had just 600-700 members and gates were less than 1,000. By 1980, the Tigers had reached their first cup final, and the club was on its way towards a substantial period of growth.

During 1970s the team played in front of a packed stadium during the annual Boxing Day Barbarians event (in contrast with the usual 750-2,000 spectators). With the advent of professionalism in the mid 1990s, with league fixtures being played over the Christmas period, regular games against the Barbarians have stopped.

A first Twickenham final appearance ended in defeat by Gloucester in the John Player Cup in 1978, but the Tigers won the next three against Moseley (15-12), London Irish (21-9) and Gosforth (22-15). This meant they were allowed to keep the trophy. The fifth final was a loss to Bristol in 1983.

In August 1980, Leicester became the first English club to go on a tour in the southern hemisphere, where they played six games in Australia and Fiji to mark the club's centenary.

In the 1980s, the club still enjoyed the benefits of amateur rugby, with nights away and Easter tours, although off the pitch the Tigers were taking their first steps towards corporate sponsorship. When they beat Waterloo on the last day of the 1987/88 season, the Tigers became England’s first official champions.

Nineties and onwards

The early 1990s saw the emergence of Leicester's renowned ABC Club, so called because of the letters the front row players wore on their backs, with Graham Rowntree, hooker Richard Cockerill and Darren Garforth.

Leicester began one of the greatest winning streaks of any team. This streak started when a young pack helped Leicester to defeat Harlequins 23-16 in the 1993 cup final. They were English champions again in 1995, won the Pilkington Cup in 1997 (9-3 against Sale) and were the first English team to get to the Heineken Cup final before losing to Brive in the same year. In the 1996 cup final, Tigers lost to Bath (which was just finishing its own great domination of English rugby) after Steve Lander gave a contentious penalty try to in the last minute which sealed their victory. After the match Neil Back pushed over Lander landing himself a six month ban.

From 1999 to 2002, under the captaincy of Martin Johnson and the management of Dean Richards, who became Director of Rugby for the club in February 1998, they won four consecutive Premiership titles and the first Zürich Championship play-offs[2], bringing their total of league championships to six — tied with Bath for most wins.

They also won the Heineken Cup in 2001 and 2002 — the only side to date who have managed to win the competition in consecutive seasons. Leicester defeated Stade Français (34-30) in 2001, and Munster (15-9) in 2002.

Leicester during this time had a very good home record; they went 57 games unbeaten at home in a period that stretched from 30 December 1997 to 30 November 2002 and included 52 successive wins. During these four seasons Leicester lost only 14 games out of the 92 they played.

In the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the club had seven representatives in the winning England squad: Martin Johnson (captain), Neil Back, Martin Corry, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Dorian West and Julian White. However while these players were away, Leicester's form suffered and they were 11th in the league and dumped out of the Heineken cup in the group stages when they decided to sack Dean Richards who was succeeded by the forwards' coach John Wells.

Post Richards era

In John Wells' first full season in charge of the team Leicester finished the regular season top of the league, also progressing to the semi-final of the Heineken cup before defeat to Toulouse at the Walkers Stadium. In Martin Johnson and Neil Back's last game for Leicester they lost the Premiership Final to Wasps. After this game John Wells left Leicester to take up a position in the RFU's coaching academy, eventually rising to England forwards coach. He was succeeded by Pat Howard

In 2005/06, the Tigers finished second to the Sale Sharks in the league before losing to the same team in the Premiership final. They again proceeded to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup, again they lost at the Walkers Stadium to Bath. In the new Anglo-Welsh Cup Leicester won their group but lost in the semi-finals to Wasps at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Over the summer of 2006, they added a number of promising forwards especially Jordan Crane, the Number 8, who arrived from Leeds Tykes with a good reputation following the U21 World Cup in France.

Leicester won their first piece of silverware for five years on 15 April 2007, beating the Ospreys 41-35 with tries from Tom Varndell, Tom Croft, Ben Kay and Alesana Tuilagi to win the EDF Energy Cup at Twickenham Stadium. This was quickly repeated with Guinness Premiership success on 12 May at Twickenham with a 44-16 win over Gloucester. However Leicester failed to win an unprecedented treble, by losing the Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham on 20 May to London Wasps.

It was announced on 28 December 2006 that the head coach Pat Howard would leave the club at the end of the season, to return to his native Australia.[3]. He was succeeded by the then-head coach of Argentina, Marcelo Loffreda after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[4] Loffreda guided Leicester through the group stages of the EDF cup to the semi final where they defeated Wasps in a knock-out game for the first time since the 1980's. This set up a rematch of the previous years final against the Ospreys, which Leicester lost. After losing all away games in the Heineken Cup that season Leicester failed to progress to the quarter finals. In the league Leicester struggled until a last minute last day try by Tom Varndell beat Harlequins to set up a rematch of the previous seasons Premiership Final against Gloucester. Once again Leicester were successful late on, this time utilising Andy Goode's kicking to secure a last minute victory. In the final they had no such luck losing to perennial rivals London Wasps. After this final; despite guiding Leicester to two Twickenham finals and only being in the job 7 months Loffreda was sacked.

Heyneke Meyer was the board's choice to replace Loffreda, however unfortunate family circumstances led to his resignation. Richard Cockerill took over until the end of the season, having guided Leicester to a home Heineken Cup quarter final against Bath. He was appointed head coach on 17 April 2009.[5]

On Sunday 3 May 2009 Leicester Tigers made history in their Heineken cup semi-final against Cardiff Blues when a place kicking competition was required to decide the outcome for the first time. The teams were drawing 26-26 after normal time and there was no score during extra time. As both teams had scored two tries the place kicking competition was the decider. Leicester won this 7-6 after backrow forwards Craig Newby and Jordan Crane both suceded with their place kicks. In the 2009 Premiership final Leicester beat London Irish (10-9), with a try from Crane and 5 points from the boot of Dupuy. The following week Leicester lost the Heineken Cup final in Edinburgh to Irish province Leinster, containing former Leicester favourites captain Leo Cullen and openside Shane Jennings.

On Friday November the 6th Leicester hosted the world champion Springboks to mark the opening of the new CAT stand. In a tight and compelling match a young Leicester side triumphed 22-17, with a try from Lucas Amorosino and 17 points from scrum half Ben Youngs.

Leicester hold the record for the biggest wins in both the Heineken Cup (90-19 demolition of Glasgow in 1997), and the Guinness Premiership (83-10 defeat of Newcastle Falcons in 2005). Leicester also hold the record for most titles (8), the most consecutive Premiership Final appearances (5), most (first) away semi-final victories in the Premiership play-offs.

Premiership play-offs

In the last five seasons Leicester have reached the final of the Premiership, finishing first in the regular season league table in 2004/05, second in 2005/06 and 2006/07, fourth in 2007/08 and first in 2008/09. They lost their first two finals to London Wasps and Sale Sharks respectively. On 5 May 2007, Leicester defeated Bristol 26-14 to reach the Premiership play-off final for the third consecutive year, where they defeated Gloucester 44-16 at Twickenham to win their first ever title via the playoffs. [6]. On 18 May 2008, Leicester defeated Gloucester at Kingsholm to become the first team to win a Guinness Premiership semi-final playoff away from home. However this season also ended in defeat as London Wasps won their sixth title, fourth via the play-offs. They won the 2008/09 final against London Irish.

These five consecutive finals is a record for consecutive appearances in a play-off final under the current format.

Current standings

2009-10 Guinness Premiership Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Leicester Tigers 17 11 1 5 365 226 139 28 10 4 4 54
2 Northampton Saints 16 12 0 4 328 227 101 32 17 1 3 52
3 Saracens 16 10 1 5 267 236 31 16 12 0 4 46
4 London Wasps 16 10 0 6 276 268 8 23 17 1 2 43
5 London Irish 16 8 3 5 356 250 106 27 20 2 3 43
6 Bath Rugby 16 7 2 7 277 253 24 28 23 2 4 38
7 Gloucester Rugby 16 6 1 9 329 324 5 34 28 2 4 32
8 Harlequins 16 6 2 8 263 338 -75 22 30 1 3 32
9 Newcastle Falcons 16 4 4 8 205 251 -46 12 22 1 3 28
10 Leeds Carnegie 16 5 1 10 227 352 -125 13 33 0 5 27
11 Worcester Warriors 16 3 4 9 226 282 -56 16 24 0 5 25
12 Sale Sharks 15 4 1 10 213 315 -102 15 30 0 5 23

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background are play-off places, and receive berths in the 2010–11 Heineken Cup. Blue background are clubs that do not make the play-offs, but will receive Heineken Cup berths. Pink background is the relegation place.
Reference www.guinnesspremiership.com: Updated 28 February 2010 --- Current English Leagues


The club plays its home games at Welford Road Stadium, the address of which is actually Aylestone Road. The ground was opened in 1892 and the first stands accommodated 1100 spectators. The Members' and Crumbie Stands were built after the First World War. The Alliance and Leicester Stand was opened at the Welford Road end in 1995. The total ground capacity is currently 24,000 (2009/10 season).

On 23 November 2004, the club announced that it had entered into a 50-50 joint venture with the city's main football club, Leicester City, to purchase City's current ground, Walkers Stadium. If the purchase had gone through, the Tigers would have surrendered their lease on Welford Road and moved into Walkers Stadium. [7] However, after several months of talks, the two clubs could not agree as to which side would have priority at Walkers Stadium, and they ended any ground share plans in July 2005.[8]

On 11 June 2007 the club announced plans that it was working with AFL, who were involved in redeveloping Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium for a redevelopment plan which will raise the capacity of their Welford Road stadium from 17,498 to 25,000 by 2011.

A new temporary stand at the clubhouse end increased the ground capacity to 17.498 from the 2007/08 season.

On 20 February 2008 Leicester Tigers received planning consent for the £60million redevelopment of their Welford Road home.The first phase of the development would include space for 10,000 supporters in a new North Stand (Granby Halls side), taking capacity up from 17,498 to 24,000. After full renovation it will have a capacity of above 30,000.[9]

In the summer of 2008 Work began on the construction of the new North Stand - called the "Caterpillar Stand" after the club's main sponsor. The work was completed for the first home game of the 2009/10 season.

At the end of the 2008/09 season three home games were played at the Walkers Stadium due to demolition of the old north stand.


Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.

Nat. Position Player
England HK George Chuter
Wales HK Mefin Davies
New Zealand HK Joe Duffey
Argentina PR Marcos Ayerza
Italy PR Martin Castrogiovanni
England PR Dan Cole
South Africa PR Robbie Harris
England PR Boris Stankovich
England PR Julian White
England LK Richard Blaze
England LK Louis Deacon (vc)
England LK Ben Kay
England LK Geoff Parling
England FL Tom Croft
England FL Dan Hemingway
England FL Lewis Moody
New Zealand FL Craig Newby
England FL Ben Woods
England N8 Jordan Crane
England N8 Brett Deacon
Nat. Position Player
England SH Harry Ellis
England SH James Grindal
England SH Ben Youngs
England FH Toby Flood
Republic of Ireland FH Jeremy Staunton
England FH Sam Vesty
England CE Anthony Allen
England CE Dan Hipkiss
New Zealand CE Aaron Mauger (vc)
England CE Billy Twelvetrees
Argentina WG Lucas González Amorosino
Republic of Ireland WG Johne Murphy
England WG Matt Smith
Samoa WG Alesana Tuilagi
New Zealand FB Scott Hamilton
Republic of Ireland FB Geordan Murphy (c)

Current England Elite Squad

The following players were replaced in January 2010 due to injuries.[10]

Current England Saxons Squad

Notable former internationals

International captains

  • J.E. Greenwood (England in 1920)
  • W.W. Wakefeild (England in 1924)
  • F.D. Prentice (Lions 1930)
  • B.C. Gadney (England 1934-36)
  • D.A. Kendrew (England in 1935)
  • Peter Wheeler (England 1983-84)
  • Paul Dodge (England in 1985)
  • Martin Johnson (England 1999-2003, Lions 1997, 2001)
  • Neil Back (England)
  • Dorian West (England)
  • Martin Corry (England 2005-07, Lions 2005)


The following have been appointed club captain:

  • B .V.D. Zweth
  • A. E. Brice
  • A.T. Porter
  • L. Young
  • J.G.S. Coleman
  • W.A. Sheffield
  • J. Parsons
  • R.S. Snowden
  • W.R. Porter
  • A McKechnie
  • W.H. Sturges
  • A.E. Cooke
  • E. Redman
  • A.O. Jones
  • W.J Foreman
  • J.W. Garner
  • S. Matthews
  • R.F. Russell
  • J.R Watson
  • P.W. Lawrie
  • W.J. Allen
  • W.W. Wakefield
  • H.L.V. Day
  • F.D. Prentice
  • H.D. Greenless
  • D.J. Norman
  • R.A. Buckingham
  • B.C. Gadney
  • R.J Barr
  • J.T.W. Berry
  • H.P. Jerwood
  • A.C. Towell
  • D. Goves
  • W.K.T. Moore
  • A.D. Bolesworth
  • J.M. Jenkins
  • J. Elders
  • T. Bleasdale
  • J.S. Swan
  • C.G. Martin
  • M.R. Wade
  • M.J. Harrison
  • D.J. Matthews
  • G.G. Willars
  • K.P. Andrews
  • John Allen
  • R.V. Grove
  • Peter Wheeler
  • R.S. Money
  • Bob Rowell
  • B.P. Hall
  • Steve Johnson
  • Ian 'Dosser' Smith
  • Les Cusworth
  • Paul Dodge
  • John Wells
  • Dean Richards
  • Martin Johnson
  • Neil Back
  • Josh Kronfeld
  • Martin Corry
  • Geordan Murphy (Current Captain)
  • Louis Deacon (Current Vice-Captain)
  • Aaron Mauger (Current Vice-Captain)


Club honours


External links

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