Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers logo.svg
Full name Leicester Football Club
Nickname(s) Tigers
Founded 1880; 137 years ago (1880)
Location Leicester, England
Ground(s) Welford Road (Capacity: 25,849)
Chairman Peter Tom
Coach(es) Matt O'Connor
Captain(s) Tom Youngs
League(s) English Premiership
2016–17 4th
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.leicestertigers.com

Leicester Tigers (officially Leicester Football Club) is an English rugby union club based in Leicester, England that plays in the English Premiership.

Leicester are the most successful English club since the introduction of league rugby in 1987, a record 10 times English champions – 4 more than either Bath or Wasps, and last won the Premiership title in the 2012–13 season. Leicester have also appeared in a record nine successive Premiership finals, from 2005 to 2013. The Tigers have never finished a league season below 6th position, and are one of only four teams (along with Gloucester, Bath and Wasps) never to have been relegated from the top division. Leicester are also the only English side to have qualified to play in every European Rugby Champions Cup (and the Heineken Cup which it replaced) in which English teams have participated, and are also the most successful English side in Europe; back-to-back champions in 2001 and 2002 and losing finalists in 1997, 2007 and 2009.

Honours[edit]

Leicester hold the record for most Premiership titles (10), the most consecutive Premiership Final appearances (9) and the most Play off appearances (12). They were the first team to achieve an away semi-final victory in the Premiership play-offs (against Gloucester at Kingsholm on 18 May 2008).

1st XV

Champions (10) 1988, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013
Runners-up (7) 1994, 1996, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012
Champions (2) 2001, 2002
Runners-up (3)1997, 2007, 2009
Champions (8) 1979, 1980, 1981, 1993, 1997, 2007, 2012, 2017
Runners-up (6) 1978, 1983, 1989, 1994, 1996, 2008

Leicester A

Champions (5) 1895, 1896, 1898, 1899, 1902
Champions (4) 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011
Runners-up (1) 2007

History[edit]

Foundation and Tom Crumbie era (1880-1928)[edit]

Leicester Football Club was formed in a meeting held in the city's George Hotel on 3 August 1880 by the merger of three smaller teams: Leicester Societies AFC, Leicester Amateur FC and Leicester Alert.[1] The club's first game was a scoreless draw on 23 October against Moseley at the Belgrave Road Cycle and Cricket Ground.[2] On 10 September 1892 Leicester played their first game at Welford Road against a Leicestershire XV.[3] Tom Crumbie was appointed secretary on 2 August 1895, a position he held for the next 33 years.[4] Crumbie has been credited with dragging the club to national prominence, he disbanded reserve and third teams making the First XV an invitation side and introducing players from all over the country.[5] Tigers first piece of silverware was the Midlands Counties Cup won for the first time in 1898 against Moseley.[6] Having won the Midlands Counties Cup every year from 1898 to 1905, they dropped out "to give other teams a chance".[7] On their return to the competition in 1909 Tigers won the cup again.[8] In 1903 Jack Miles became the first home produced England international.[9] Leicester's status as a premier club was confirmed in 1905 when a crowd of 20,000 was on hand to see the club face The Original All Blacks, losing 28-0.[10] December 1909 saw Tigers play the Barbarians for the first time, holding them to a 9-9 draw. The fixture became a vital feature in the club's calendar delivering large attendances until open professionalism and league rugby in the 1990s forced it to gradually be abandoned due to fixture congestion. Tigers won the Midlands Counties Cup 3 more times in 4 years to cement their place as the midland's premier side before the outbreak of war in 1914. The visit of the Invincible All Blacks on 4 October 1924 saw a record attendance at Welford Road of 35,000 that stands to this day.[11] Tigers were beaten 27-0 by the tourists. Tom Crumbie died on 13 March 1928, he was described as the cog around which the club functioned and contemporary reports say he epitomised the club.[12]

Leicester's match against Racing club de France in February 1923

Lions Captains, decline and club restructure (1928-1971)[edit]

Club captain Doug Prentice captained the 1930 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia.[13] The first BBC radio broadcast of a Tigers game was against Waterloo on 29 November 1930; Tigers won 21-5.[14] Bernard Gadney became the club's first home produced England captain in 1934 and was captain when four Leicester players were part of the first England side to beat the All Blacks. Gadney also became the club's second player to captain the British Lions on their tour to Argentina. 1936-37 was the worst season since 1889-90 for the club with only 14 wins from 39 matches.[15]

Tigers first televised game by the BBC was on 3 February 1951 when they beat London Scottish 14-0 at the Richmond Athletic Ground.[16] The club underwent a significant restructure in the 1956/57 season. The practice of being an "invitation" club featuring only a First XV stopped and Tigers adopted a more traditional membership club based approach with multiple sides. The "A XV" was to be re-introduced under the name "Extra First XV" with a third "Colts XV" also formed.[17] The 1963/64 season saw David Matthews set the record for most consecutive appearances for the club with 109.[18] Matthews was to become captain in 1965 and in 1966/67 lead the club to a record 33 wins.[19] Chalkie White became coach in 1968; the same season Tom Berry became Leicester's first President of the RFU. White was credited with revolutionising Leicester's player in response to rule changes which opened up the game. 1970/71 saw Peter Wheeler emerge as first choice hooker having made his debut the year before, he ended the season on England's tour to the Far East. Attendance for the annual Barbarians game hit a nadir with a crowd of only 2,518.[20]

Introduction of competitions (1971-1978)[edit]

The 1971/72 season saw changes which would radically change both the club and the game. The RFU introduced a national Knockout Cup competition for clubs and on 16 November 1971 Tigers played their first competitive cup match since 1914, a 10-3 defeat to Nottingham at their Beeston ground. Also introduced that season was Tigers' first "Youth" XV, based on a collection of the best 14 and 15 year olds in the county. Only six year later Paul Dodge became the first graduate to win an international cap.[21]

Tigers were not involved in the 1974-75 Cup and lost in the 1st round of the 1975-76 Cup. This forced the club into the Midlands qualifiers for the only time. This era saw a huge increase in the popularity of the Barbarians annual fixture with crowds of 15,000 in 1973 & 1975, 17,000 in 1974 and 21,000 in 1976. This contrasted with usual crowds in the low hundreds.[22] 1976-77 saw the introduction of regional "Merit Tables" by the RFU, the first step on the road to full leagues. Based around traditional fixtures Tigers finished second to Moseley in the Midlands Merit Table with a record of played 8 won 6.[23] It took 6 years before Leicester were drawn at home in the cup but in 1977-78 they received four in a row on their way to a first Twickenham final against Gloucester. The game ended in a 6-3 loss to the Cherry and Whites; the attendance was 25,282 more than double the previous season. Cup success also coincided with Tigers membership more than doubling from 750 in 1978 to 2,000 by the end of 1979.[24]

Cup success, centenary and first league title (1979-88)[edit]

Leicester's first national trophy was won the next year; the 1978-79 John Player Cup was secured against perennial rivals Moseley, Leicester winning 15-12. Tigers retained the cup in 1979-80 beating London Irish 21–9 in the final at Twickenham in front of a record crowd of 27,000.[25] 1979-80 also saw Tigers win the Midlands Merit Table for the first time. To celebrate the club's centenary a 6 match tour to Australia and Fiji was arranged in August 1980, the first undertaken by an English club in the southern hemisphere. Tigers lost 22-12 to Queensland in their first match but recorded victories over Eastern Suburbs and Randwick before traveling to Fiji and winning 3 games. Prestige fixtures staged at Welford Road to mark the centenary were the visit of the Irish Wolfhounds who were beaten 10-6; Romania who won 39-7, and a return visit from Queensland who were beaten 21-9. Tigers retained the Midlands Merit Table title in November with an undefeated record. On 25 April 1981 Tigers traveled to Moseley where Dusty Hare broke the world record for points scored in first class fixtures. His total of 3,658 over took the previous record held by Moseley's own Sam Doble.[26] The cup was won again in 1980-81. Leicester scored three tries to beat Gosforth 22–15. This meant they were allowed to keep the trophy.

Leicester were knocked out in the semi finals of the 1982 cup. This was also Chalkie White's last season with the club after 30 years as a player, administrator or coach. A new generation of players who were to shape the club made their debuts in the early '80s; Dean Richards in 1982 against Neath, John Wells in 1983 against Harlequins and Rory Underwood in 1983 against Birmingham. In 1985 the penultimate step towards league rugby was taken as the John Smith's Merit Table A was launched; the national merit tables ran for two season where Tigers finished 4th and 2nd. League rugby was launched in England in 1987. The main difference from the merit table was all sides would now have to play all other sides in a round robin. Tigers hit the top of the league on 28 November and stayed there losing only one match all season. When they beat Waterloo on the last day of the 1987-88 season Tigers became England's first official champions.

Glory years begin (1989-98)[edit]

Tigers finished the 1988-89 Courage League in 6th, their joint worst ever finish, but made the cup final against Bath. In Dusty Hare's 394th and last game for the club Tigers lost 10-6.[27] Martin Johnson made his debut in February 1989, Neil Back joined in 1990 and made his debut at home against Bedford, whilst Graham Rowntree was promoted from the club's youth ranks. 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 shirts; Rowntree played loosehead and wore "A", hooker Richard Cockerill wore "B" and Darren Garforth played tighthead prop and wore "C". The trio started 166 games together between 1992 and 2002, Garforth and Rowntree started another 72 games together at prop, but with different hookers.[28]

From 1993 Leicester enjoyed a remarkable nine trophies in 10 years. This streak started when Harlequins were defeated 23–16 in the 1993 cup final.[29] In 1993/94 season Tigers made the cup final but this time Leicester fell short to rivals Bath, losing 21-9. Leicester were also runners up in the league to Bath.

Leicester were English champions again in 1995, Leicester went top after a win against West Hartlepool and had crucial wins against Bath and Sale. The title was clinched on the last game of the season against Bristol.[30] The 1995/96 season was another of just missing out to perennial rivals Bath who secured a league and cup double after defeating Leicester in the Cup Final. Leicester's debut in the Heineken Cup was against Leinster at Donnybrook. Leicester made the knock out stages and reached the final against Brive, the French side won 28-9. Tigers faltered in the league but did secure silverware beating Sale 9-3 in the 1997 Pilkington Cup Final. That summer Martin Johnson was named as captain for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa. The 1997/98 season started with the Heineken Cup where Leicester lost in the quarter final. Domestically Tigers finish 4th in the Allied Dunbar Premiership. In February 1998 Dean Richards was appointed as Director of Rugby following Bob Dwyer's sacking.[31][32]

European Champions and domestic domination (1998-2005)[edit]

Under Richards Leicester entered a golden age winning the Premiership Rugby title in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 as well as back to back Heineken Cups.

During the 1998-99 Premiership Tigers were top after victories against Richmond and West Hartlepool. The title was sealed in the penultimate match of the season away to Newcastle Falcons.[33] On 28 August 1999 a record ten Tigers were capped for England in the World Cup warm up game against Canada.[34] The 1999-2000 Premiership season started the season poorly, Leicester finished the World Cup period in 8th position in the league. However they were to only lose one further Premiership game and retained their title on 14 May 2000 with a 30-23 win against Bristol at the Memorial Ground. Tigers' third successive league title was sealed on 17 March 2001 against Newcastle having been 18 points clear as early as 10 March.[35] In the 2001 Heineken Cup final Tigers beat Stade Francais 34-30 to secure the club's first continental title.[36] Tigers had won the inaugural Premiership play offs the week before so also sealed an unprecedented treble.[37] That summer Martin Johnson was named captain for the 2001 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, becoming the first man to lead two tours.

Leicester became the first side to retain a European title after beating Munster, 15-9, in the 2002 Heineken Cup Final.[38] Leicester also retained their Premiership title, securing their fourth successive title against Newcastle on 13 April 2002 at Welford Road. This brought the club's total to six championship, tying Bath's record. During this time Leicester went 57 games unbeaten at home in a period that stretched from 30 December 1997 to 30 November 2002 and included 52 successive wins.[39] During these four seasons Leicester lost only 14 games out of the 92 they played.

Tom Croft made his debut in 2006 after coming though the club's academy

In the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the club had seven representatives in the winning England squad including captain Martin Johnson; however while these players were away Leicester's form suffered, with 8 games Dean Richards was sacked.[40] After Richards' departure Tigers turned to his assistant coach John Wells.[41] Wells' tenure saw Tigers fortunes improve and Leicester finished the regular season top of the league in his only full season. In Martin Johnson and Neil Back's last game for Leicester they lost the Premiership Final to Wasps.

Pat Howard's team seal domestic double (2005-08)[edit]

Pat Howard succeed Wells as coach.[42] Howard coached the club for two seasons losing a Premiership final to Sale in his first season. Over the summer of 2006 the core of a new pack was recruited especially Jordan Crane, the Number 8, who arrived from Leeds; Martin Castrogiovanni joined from Calvisano and Marcos Ayerza joined from domestic rugby in his native Argentina. Tom Croft also made his debut this season after coming through the club's academy system. In Howard's second season Leicester won their first piece of silverware for five years, beating the Ospreys 41–35 to win the EDF Energy Cup, and sealed the club's first domestic league and cup double after winning the Premiership final 44–16 against Gloucester. However Leicester failed to win an unprecedented treble, losing the Heineken Cup Final to Wasps. Howard left the club at the end of the season returning to Australia.[43]

He was succeeded for one season by the coach of Argentina Marcelo Loffreda, who started after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.[44] Loffreda had a torrid time in charge despite getting to two finals. After losing the Anglo Welsh Cup final to the Ospreys, Leicester became the first side to win an away game in the Premiership play offs by beating Gloucester in the semi finals but lost to perennial rivals Wasps in the final. After this final Loffreda was sacked.[45]

Richard Cockerill's reign (2009-16)[edit]

Geordan Murphy, pictured in 2012, played 322 games for Leicester between 1997 and 2013. He is the most decorated player in the club's history with 8 Premiership titles, 2 European titles and 2 Anglo-Welsh cups.

Heyneke Meyer was the board's choice to replace Loffreda, however unfortunate family circumstances led to his resignation.[46] Richard Cockerill took over, the appointment was confirmed as permanent on 17 April 2009.[47] Cockerill lead Leicester to two Premiership titles in as many years. In the 2009 Premiership final Leicester beat London Irish 10–9[48] and Tigers retained their title as they defeated Saracens 33–27, coming back from behind 5 times in the match to win.[49] After an historic placing kicking competition decided the 2009 Heineken cup semi-final Leicester lost the 2009 Heineken Cup Final to Irish province Leinster.

On Friday 6 November 2009 Leicester hosted the world champion Springboks[50] to mark the opening of the new stand on the north side of the ground. In a tight and compelling match a young Leicester side triumphed 22–17, with a try from Lucas González Amorosino and 17 points from scrum half Ben Youngs.

Domestic success continued with Tigers reaching Premiership finals but losing in 2011 and 2012, against Saracens and Harlequins respectively. Silverware was still secured in 2012 though by winning the LV Cup against Northampton at Worcester's Sixways Stadium.[51][52] In 2013 Tigers won their record extending 10th English title defeating local rivals Northampton Saints 37–17.[53]

The next year Northampton beat Tigers 21-20 in the Premiership semi final at Franklin's Gardens,[54] the next two years Tigers suffered heavy away defeats in the semi finals to Bath (47-10)[55] and Saracens (44-17).[56]However the following year in a spirited excellent performance they lost narrowly to Wasps 21-20 at the Ricoh to a late Josh Bassett try in the 78th minute.

On Monday 2 January 2017 Leicester sacked Richard Cockerill as director of rugby.[57] Aaron Mauger was placed in temporary charge of the team[58] but despite winning the Anglo-Welsh Cup against Exeter the next day Matt O'Connor was announced as the new Head Coach with immediate effect. [59]Under O'Connor Tigers began to have more clarity and secured their 13th Consecutive playoff semifinal with 28-25 win away to Worcester at Sixways.

Season Summary[edit]

Season League Domestic Cup European Cup
Competition Position Points Play Offs Competition Performance Competition Performance
2016–17 Premiership 4th 66 Semi Final Anglo-Welsh Cup Champions Champions Cup Group Stage
2015–16 Premiership 4th 65 Semi Final None N/A Champions Cup Semi Final
2014–15 Premiership 3rd 68 Semi Final LV Cup Semi-Final Champions Cup Group Stage
2013–14 Premiership 3rd 74 Semi Final LV Cup Group Stage Heineken Cup Quarter Final
2012–13 Premiership 2nd 74 Champions LV Cup Group Stage Heineken Cup Quarter Final
2011–12 Premiership 2nd 74 Finalist LV Cup Champions Heineken Cup Group Stage
2010–11 Premiership 1st 78 Finalist LV Cup Group Stage Heineken Cup Quarter Final
2009–10 Premiership 1st 73 Champions LV Cup Group Stage Heineken Cup Group Stage
2008–09 Premiership 1st 71 Champions EDF Energy Cup Group Stage Heineken Cup Finalist
2007–08 Premiership 4th 64 Finalist EDF Energy Cup Finalist Heineken Cup Group Stage
2006–07 Premiership 2nd 71 Champions EDF Energy Cup Champions Heineken Cup Finalist
2005–06 Premiership 2nd 68 Finalist Powergen Cup Semi Final Heineken Cup Quarter Final
2004–05 Premiership 1st 78 Finalist Powergen Cup 6th Round Heineken Cup Semi Final
2003–04 Premiership 5th 55 Wildcard Winner Powergen Cup 6th Round Heineken Cup Group Stage
2002–03 Premiership 6th 55 Wildcard Winner Powergen Cup Semi Final Heineken Cup Quarter Final
2001–02 Premiership 1st 83 Quarter Final* Powergen Cup Quarter Final Heineken Cup Champions
2000–01 Premiership 1st 81 Champions* Tetley's Bitter Cup Semi Final Heineken Cup Champions
1999–2000 Premiership 1st 51 Tetley's Bitter Cup 5th Round Heineken Cup Group Stage
1998–99 Premiership 1st 44 Tetley's Bitter Cup Quarter Final Did Not Enter N/A
1997–98 Premiership 4th 26 Tetley's Bitter Cup 5th Round Heineken Cup Quarter Final
1996–97 Courage League 4th 29 Pilkington Cup Champions Heineken Cup Finalist
1995–96 Courage League 2nd 30 Pilkington Cup Finalist
1994–95 Courage League 1st 31 Pilkington Cup Semi Final
1993–94 Courage League 2nd 28 Pilkington Cup Finalist
1992–93 Courage League 3rd 18 Pilkington Cup Champions
1991–92 Courage League 6th 13 Pilkington Cup Semi Final
1990–91 Courage League 4th 16 Pilkington Cup 4th Round
1989–90 Courage League 5th 12 Pilkington Cup Quarter Final
1988–89 Courage League 6th 13 Pilkington Cup Finalist
1987–88 Courage League 1st 37 John Player Cup 4th Round
1986–87 National Merit A 2nd 75% John Player Cup Semi Final
1985–86 National Merit A 4th 70% John Player Cup Semi Final
1984–85 National Merit A
Midlands Merit
6th
3rd
42.9%
85.7%
John Player Cup Quarter Final
1983–84 Midlands Merit 1st 100% John Player Cup 3rd Round
1982–83 Midlands Merit 1st 100% John Player Cup Finalist
1981–82 Midlands Merit 1st 85.7% John Player Cup Semi Final
1980–81 Midlands Merit 1st 92.9% John Player Cup Champions
1979–80 Midlands Merit 1st 85.7% John Player Cup Champions
1978–79 Midlands Merit 2nd 85.7% John Player Cup Champions
1977–78 Midlands Merit 5th 62.5% John Player Cup Finalist
1976–77 Midlands Merit 2nd 75% John Player Cup 2nd Round
1975–76 John Player Cup 1st Round
1974–75 John Player Cup Did not qualify
1973–74 John Player Cup 1st Round
1972–73 John Player Cup Quarter Final
1971–72 John Player Cup 1st Round

* In 2001 & 2002 the winners of the league were considered champions with the winners of the play offs considered champions from 2003 onward

Premiership play-offs[edit]

Leicester Tigers playing against Leinster in 2008.

Leicester have participated in the last 13 Premiership Play Offs, reaching nine consecutive finals between 2005 and 2013. The run ended when Leicester lost to a late Northampton try in the 2014 semi finals.

Leicester finished first in the league table in 2004–05 going directly to the final; in Martin Johnson & Neil Back's last game for the club they lost 43–19 to Wasps. The following season Tigers finished second beating London Irish 40–8 in their first ever Play Off semi final before once again losing the final, this time to Sale who won 45–20 in wet conditions.

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.[60] On 18 May 2008 Leicester defeated Gloucester at Kingsholm to become the first team to win a Premiership semi-final playoff away from home. However this season also ended in defeat as Wasps won their sixth title, fourth via the play-offs.

In 2008–09 Tigers again topped the table and faced Bath in the semi final winning 24–10. The final was the closest yet, Tigers defeated London Irish by a single point thanks to Jordan Crane's try and five points from Julien Dupuy. A year later Richard Cockerill's side retained the trophy with a 33–27 win against Saracens, Dan Hipkiss scored the decisive try in the closing stages.

Tigers reached the 2010–11 final for a rematch with Saracens which saw a record breaking seven minutes overtime played during which Leicester went through 32 phases camped on the Saracens try line before conceding a penalty which awarded Saracens their revenge for the previous years defeat.

2011–12 saw Tigers finish second in the table and face Saracens in the semi finals at Welford Road. Inspired by George Ford and with tries from Steve Mafi and Alesana Tuilagi Leicester were able to beat the Londoners 24–15 to meet Harlequins in the final. Ford was unable to reproduce his semi final form and Nick Evans and Chris Robshaw inspired Quins to their maiden Premiership triumph.

Leicester finished 2nd in 2012–13 season playing Harlequins in a 33–16 win for the Tigers, to secure a place in the final and their ninth successive Premiership final, as well as this being their 13th Successive Semi-Final win in all competitions. Defeat of Northampton, 37–17, at the 2013 final means that Tigers achieved a record tenth Premiership title.[61]

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

Name and colours[edit]

Nickname[edit]

Martin Johnson and Graham Rowntree in Tigers traditional colours during the friendly match vs. Bath in 2007.

The club's formal name is Leicester Football Club but is widely known by the nickname "Tigers". The first known use of the name was after a game against Bedford School in February 1885, the Leicester Daily Post reporting that "the Tiger stripes were keeping well together".[62] The origin of the nickname is uncertain most probably coming from the side's chocolate and yellow playing kit, but it may have come from the club's links to the Leicestershire Regiment,[63] who had received the nickname 'Tigers' after serving in India, and from 1825 had worn a cap-badge with a 'royal' tiger to mark the connection.

In their early years the side were also known as "The Death or Glory Boys" on account of their black shirts.[64]

Player Identification[edit]

In the 1926–27 season Leicester started using letters to identify their forwards; The Birmingham Post report for the match against Bath on 6 October 1926 noted "Leicester's forwards were picked out easily as their jerseys were decorated with large bold letters A-G". On 12 September 1931 against Old Blues the practice was expanded to the whole team.

This tradition lasted until 1998 when Premiership Rugby rules forced Leicester to abandon lettering and number their players like everyone else. Tigers first wore numbers on 5 September 1998 against Harlequins at Welford Road.[65]

Since then Leicester have only returned to letters for non-competition friendlies against sides such as Australia[66] or the New Zealand Maori.[67] On the current kit the letters are displayed in small on the front of the jersey.

Colours[edit]

Tigers' very first kit was black with white shorts and black socks, the shirt had the club's crest in the centre of the chest. From 1884 to 1887 the club played in chocolate and yellow shirts, likely giving rise to the club's nickname, white shorts and black socks before experimenting with claret and French grey horizontal stripes between 1887 and 1891.[68]

The first use of the iconic scarlet, green and white was on 3 October 1891 against Wolverton at Belgrave Cricket & Cycle Ground. However, for the 1891/92 season the pattern was vertical stripes.[69] It was not until 1895 that the now traditional scarlet, green and white horizontal stripes were introduced to the jersey, paired with black shorts and socks until 1906.[70] Tigers then played three season between 1906 and 1909 in white shirts with navy shorts, the first two season with a leaping Tiger logo on the left breast[71] before reverting to scarlet, green and white striped jersey but keeping the navy shorts. This new kit layout lasted until 1947 when the navy shorts were swapped for white.

Tigers kit and colours did not materially change between 1947 and 1999, only slight variations in the sizes of the stripes, the addition of a manufacturer's logo in 1975, a sponsor in 1988 and in 1991 the addition of the club crest for the first time since 1908.

In 1999 Tigers switched to a darker green and have played in a variety of kit designs since.

1880-84
1884-87
1887-91
1891-95
1895-1906
1906-09
1906-47
1947-99

Summary of kit manufacturers and sponsors[edit]

Seasons Manufacturer Sponsor
1991–92 Cotton
Oxford
None
1992-93 Ansells
1993-95 Tetley Bitter
1995-96 GoldStar
1996-97 Cotton
Traders
1997-99 Next
1999-2002 Vauxhall
2002-08 Bradstone
2008-2012 Caterpillar
2012-15 Canterbury
2015-16 KooGa
2016-17 Holland and Barrett

Current Kit[edit]

Current Kit

Tigers current kit was launched on 30 July 2016[72] and sees a return to the design worn between 1947 and 1999 as green, red and white stripes are pared with white shorts and black socks, with a green, red and white top. On 4 July 2016 it was announced that Holland and Barrett would be the main shirt sponsors;[73] other sponsors are Breedon Aggregates[74] who take a patch on the collarbone, Fischer Future Heat[75] who take a box above the players' number and Stihl[76] who take a patch on the sleeve.

Stadium[edit]

The North stand

The club plays its home games at Welford Road Stadium. The ground was opened in 1892 and the first stands accommodated 3,000 spectators.[77] The clubhouse was built on the Aylestone Road end in 1909,[78] giving the curious situation of Welford Road Stadium's address being on the Aylestone Road. The Members' & Crumbie Stands were built just before and just after the First World War respectively. A stand was built at the Welford Road end in 1995, initially called the Alliance & Leicester Stand it is currently known as the Mattioli Woods Stand.[79] The total ground capacity is currently 25,849 after the north stand (Members' Stand originally) was redeveloped in 2008 and Clubhouse stand in 2016, see below.

The newly opened clubhouse stand is a new all seating stand replacing the original clubhouse and an 1980s extension at the Aylestone Road end. Costing £6.7m the new stand has 2,917 spaces for general admittance & 190 executive seats.[80] Replacing a temporary stand housing 992 places it has brought the capacity of the stadium to 26,000. The stand is currently known as the Robin Hood Stand due to a sponsorship agreement with Nottingham Building Society.[81]

Before redevelopment of Welford Road began in 2008 the club explored many other options. 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.[82] 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.[83]

On 11 June 2007 the club announced plans that it was working with AFL, who were involved in redeveloping Manchester United's Old Trafford, for a redevelopment plan which would raise the capacity from 17,498 to 25,000 by 2011.[84]

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.[85]

In the summer of 2008 work began on the construction of the new North Stand – then called the "Caterpillar Stand" after the club's main sponsor, Caterpillar Inc., currently known as the Holland and Barrett Stand again due to sponsorship.[86] The work was completed for the first home game of the 2009-10 season against Newcastle Falcons.[87] The stand has room for 10,000 spectators along with a 1,000 seat hospitality suite. On the ground floor is the Final Whilstle bar where no ticket is required for entry.[88]

At the end of the 2008–09 season three home games were played at the King Power Stadium, then known as the Walkers Stadium, due to demolition of the old north stand. These saw Tigers play Bath twice, a dramatic 20-15 win in the Heineken Cup quarter finals and a victory in the Premiership Play Off semi finals as well as a 73–3 demolition of Bristol. Tigers have also played two Heineken Cup Semi Final games at the King Power Stadium, against Toulose and Llanelli Scarlets, but the ground was designated as a neutral venue for both.

Current squad[edit]

First Team squad[edit]

Source:[89] Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Greg Bateman Hooker England England
George McGuigan Hooker England England
Harry Thacker Hooker England England
Tom Youngs Hooker England England
Fraser Balmain Prop England England
Riccardo Brugnara Prop Italy Italy
Pat Cilliers Prop South Africa South Africa
Dan Cole Prop England England
Ellis Genge Prop England England
Logovi'i Mulipola Prop Samoa Samoa
Michele Rizzo Prop Italy Italy
Dominic Barrow Lock England England
Michael Fitzgerald Lock New Zealand New Zealand
Graham Kitchener Lock England England
Ed Slater Lock England England
Harry Wells Lock England England
Tom Croft Flanker England England
Will Evans Flanker England England
Brendon O'Connor Flanker New Zealand New Zealand
Will Owen Flanker England England
Mike Williams Flanker Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Luke Hamilton Number 8 Wales Wales
Lachlan McCaffrey Number 8 Australia Australia
Player Position Union
Sam Harrison Scrum-half England England
Jono Kitto Scrum-half New Zealand New Zealand
Ben Youngs Scrum-half England England
Oliver Bryant Fly-half England England
Freddie Burns Fly-half England England
Owen Williams Fly-half Wales Wales
George Catchpole Centre England England
Maxime Mermoz Centre France France
Jack Roberts Centre Wales Wales
Matt Smith Centre England England
Matt Toomua Centre Australia Australia
Manu Tuilagi Centre England England
Peter Betham Wing Australia Australia
Tom Brady Wing England England
JP Pietersen Wing South Africa South Africa
Adam Thompstone Wing England England
Mathew Tait Fullback England England
Telusa Veainu Fullback Tonga Tonga

Development squad[edit]

Source:[90] Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Ben Betts Prop Ireland Ireland
Owen Hills Prop England England
Harry Mahoney Hooker England England
Joe Maksymiw Lock England England
Sam Lewis Lock England England
Fred Tuilagi Number 8 Samoa Samoa
Player Position Union
Harry Simmons Scrum-half England England
Ben White Scrum-half England England
Charlie Thacker Centre England England
Jordan Olowofela Wing England England
Ryan Olowofela Wing England England
Sam Yawayawa Wing England England
George Worth Fullback England England

Current England Elite squad[edit]

As of 20 April 2017 [91]

Current British and Irish Lions[edit]

As of 8 May 2017 [92]

Notable former players[edit]

Record Appearances and Scorers[edit]

David Matthews holds the record for most appearances for Leicester Tigers with 502 appearances between 1955 and 1974. Percy Lawrie is the only man to score more than 200 tries for the club, scoring a record 206 between 1907 and 1927. Dusty Hare is the club's all-time highest points scorer with 4,507 between 1976 and 1989.

Internationals[edit]

136 players from 13 different nations have been selected to represent their national side whilst a member of Leicester. The first was Jack Miles who was selected for England in 1903, Leicester's first non-English international was Scotland's Jock Lawrie in 1924. The club's first non-British or Irish player selected for international duty was Canada's Dave Lougheed when he played against USA in August 1998.

Lions Tourists[edit]

The following are players which have represented the Lions, whilst playing for Leicester:

3 Tours:

2 Tours:

1 Tour

Italics denote a player who appeared on another tour whilst a member of another club.

2013: Ben Youngs, Tom Youngs, Manu Tuilagi, Geoff Parling, Dan Cole
2009: Harry Ellis
2005: Julian White, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Geordan Murphy, Ollie Smith
2001: Dorian West
1997: Will Greenwood, Eric Miller
1993: Tony Underwood
1983: Dusty Hare
1980: Paul Dodge
1974: Alan Old
1971: Rodger Arneil
1959: Tony O'Reilly, Phil Horrocks-Taylor
1936: Bernard Gadney, Alexander Obolensky, Charles Beamish
1930: Doug Prentice, George Beamish, Joe Kendrew
1910: Ken Wood
1908: F.S. Jackson, John Jackett, Tom Smith
1903: Alfred Hind

Rugby World Cup[edit]

The following are players which have represented their countries at the Rugby World Cup, whilst playing for Leicester:

Tournament Number of
players selected
Players
1987 2 Dean Richards England, Rory Underwood England
1991 2 Dean Richards England, Rory Underwood England
1995 6 Neil Back England, Martin Johnson England, Dean Richards England, Graham Rowntree England, Rory Underwood England, Tony Underwood England
1999 11 Dave Lougheed Canada, Neil Back England, Richard Cockerill England, Martin Corry England, Darren Garforth England, Will Greenwood England, Austin Healey England, Martin Johnson England, Leon Lloyd England, Graham Rowntree England, Fritz van Heerden South Africa
2003 8 Neil Back England, Martin Corry England, Martin Johnson England, Ben Kay England, Lewis Moody England, Julian White England, Dorian West England, Dan Lyle United States
2007 11 Marcos Ayerza Argentina, George Chuter England, Martin Corry England, Dan Hipkiss England, Ben Kay England, Lewis Moody England, Seru Rabeni Fiji, Geordan Murphy Ireland, Martin Castrogiovanni Italy, Alesana Tuilagi Samoa, Jim Hamilton Scotland
2011 12 Marcos Ayerza Argentina, Horacio Agulla Argentina, Dan Cole England, Tom Croft England, Louis Deacon England, Toby Flood England, Manu Tuilagi England, Thomas Waldrom England, Ben Youngs England, Geordan Murphy Ireland, Martin Castrogiovanni Italy, Alesana Tuilagi Samoa
2015 8 Marcos Ayerza Argentina, Dan Cole England, Ben Youngs England, Tom Youngs England, Vereniki Goneva Fiji, Leonardo Ghiraldini Italy, Michele Rizzo Italy, Opeti Fonua Tonga

International captains[edit]

Source:[94]

* Martin Corry was also captain for the majority of a Lions test in 2005 after Brian O'Driscoll left the field injured, however he is not considered the official captain for that match.

Captains[edit]

The following have been appointed club captain:

World Rugby Hall of Fame[edit]

The following people associated with club have been inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.

Team of the Century and Walk of Legends[edit]

Tigers have named two "best" teams in recent times. On 1 November 2000 to celebrate the coming millennium a panel of former Tigers players and administrators named a Team of the century; whilst from October 2008 to February 2009 to celebrate the building of the then named Caterpillar Stand fans were invited to vote on a Walk of Legends in partnership with the Leicester Mercury.[101][102]

Team of the century[103]
Position Nationality Player Tigers Career
Full Back Scotland Ken Scotland 40 games 1961–62
Right Wing England Alastair Smallwood 64 games 1920–25
Right Centre England Clive Woodward 148 games 1979–85
Left Centre England Paul Dodge 434 games 1975–93
Left Wing England Rory Underwood 236 games 1983–97
Fly Half England Les Cusworth 365 games 1978–90
Scrum Half England Bernard Gadney 170 games 1929–39
Loosehad Prop England Bob Stirling 75 games 1948–53
Hooker England Peter Wheeler 349 games 1969–85
Tighthead Prop England Darren Garforth 1991–
Lock England Martin Johnson (c) 1989–
Lock Ireland George Beamish 118 games 1924–33
Blindside Flanker England Doug Prentice 239 games 1923–31
Opendside Flanker England Neil Back 1990–
No. 8 England Dean Richards 314 games 1982–97
Coach: England Chalkie White
Walk of Legends[104]
Position Nationality Player Tigers Career
Full Back England Dusty Hare 394 games 1976–89
Right Wing Ireland John Duggan 302 games 1970–80
Right Centre England Clive Woodward 148 games 1979–85
Left Centre England Paul Dodge 434 games 1975–93
Left Wing England Rory Underwood 236 games 1983–97
Fly Half Wales Bleddyn Jones 333 games 1969–78
Scrum Half England Austin Healey 248 games 1996–2006
Loosehad Prop England Graham Rowntree 398 games 1990–2007
Hooker England Peter Wheeler 349 games 1969–85
Tighthead Prop England Steve Redfern 241 games 1976–84
Lock England Martin Johnson 362 games 1989–2005
Lock England Matt Poole 223 games 1988–98
Blindside Flanker England Graham Willars 338 games 1959–87
Opendside Flanker England David Matthews 502 games 1955–74
No. 8 England Dean Richards 314 games 1982–97

At the time the Team of the Century was announced Garforth, Johnson and Back were still current players.

Coaches[edit]

Current Coaches[edit]

Past Coaches[edit]

Correct as of 20 May 2017

Name Nat. From To P W D L Win% Honours
Bob Dwyer  Australia July 1996 14 February 1998 70 52 1 17 74.26 1997 Pilkington Cup
Dean Richards  England 22 Feb 1998 2 Feb 2004 209 138 6 65 66.03 1998–99 Premiership, 1999–00 Premiership, 2000–01 Premiership, 2000–01 Zurich Championship, 2000–01 Heineken Cup, 2001–02 Premiership, 2001–02 Heineken Cup
John Wells  England 3 Feb 2004 14 May 2005 45 31 5 9 68.88
Pat Howard  Australia July 2005 20 May 2007 75 49 4 22 65.33 2006–07 Premiership, 2006–07 Anglo Welsh Cup
Richard Cockerill (Caretaker)  England July 2007 3 November 2007 8 5 0 3 62.50
Marcelo Loffreda  Argentina 10 November 2007 31 May 2008 27 15 0 12 55.55
Heyneke Meyer  South Africa July 2008 24 January 2009 21 13 1 7 61.90
Richard Cockerill  England 15 February 2009 2 January 2017 276 178 11 87 64.49 2008–09 Premiership, 2009–10 Premiership, 2011-12 Anglo-Welsh Cup, 2012–13 Premiership
Aaron Mauger (Caretaker)  New Zealand 2 January 2017 25 March 2017 12 7 0 5 58.33 2016-17 Anglo-Welsh Cup
Matt O'Connor  Australia 26 March 2017 present 5 3 0 2 60.00

References[edit]

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External links[edit]