Leicester Tigers
File:Leicester tigers badge.png
Full nameLeicester Football Club
LocationLeicester, England
Ground(s)Welford Road (Capacity: 16,815)
ChairmanPeter Tom
Coach(es)Pat Howard
League(s)Guinness Premiership
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 7 years. Leicester Tigers are the current EDF Energy Cup holders.


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, it may have come from the Leicestershire Regiment which acquired 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 to their present ground at Welford Road, Leicester in 1892. They won the Midlands Cup eight times in a row, from 1898 to 1905, before dropping out “to give other teams a chance”.

Leicester started using letters to identify their forwards in the 1926/27 season, by 1931/32 they were used to identify 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). This game still takes place each year; however it is no longer played on Boxing day as Leicester now play a league game near that date.

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, the Tigers playing six games in Australia and Fiji to make the club's centenary.

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

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.

Dean Richards became Director of Rugby in February 1998. Then from 1999 to 2002, under the captaincy of Martin Johnson and the management of Dean Richards, they won four consecutive Premiership titles and the first Zürich Championship play-offs, the final being against rivals Bath, bringing their total of league championships to 6, (tied with Bath for most wins), and the Heineken Cup in 2001, against Stade Francais (34-20), and 2002, against Munster (15-9), becoming the only side, so far, to retain the trophy. 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 whilst 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 had been Director of Rugby for the four consecutive league wins and Heinekin Cup double.

In the 2004 New Year honours, the England coach Clive Woodward, who had played for Leicester from 1979 to 1985, received a knighthood (KBE), Martin Johnson received an CBE and the other World Cup players, MBEs.

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.

In 2005-6, the Tigers finished second to the Sale Sharks in the league before losing to the same team in the Premiership final. They again proceded to the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup, again they lost at the Walkers Stadium this time 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.

Leicester are one of only four teams never to have been relegated from the top, and also hold the distinction of competeing in every Heineken Cup and never having finished a league season below 6th position.

Welford Road

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 WW1. The Alliance and Leicester Stand was opened at the Welford Road end in 1995. The total ground capacity is about 17,000.

As of 2006, the stadium has hosted eight international games. It hosted games during both the 1991 and 1999 Rugby World Cups.[1][2]

Future stadium developments

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 F.C., 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. [3] 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 groundshare plans in July 2005. The Tigers now intend to purchase Welford Road outright, plus some surrounding land, and expand the ground (pending planning approval). [4]

Premiership playoffs

In the last two seasons Leicester have finished in the playoffs of the Premiership, finishing first in 2004-5 and second in 2005-6. On both occasions they reached the final at Twickenham and lost - in 2005 to London Wasps and in 2006 to Sale Sharks.

2006-07 Guinness Premiership Season Results and Fixtures

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Guinness Premiership Table 2006-07

Template:2006-07 Guinness Premiership Table

If teams are level at any stage, they are ranked by: 1. number of wins 2. league points 3. match points difference 4. match points for 5. head-to-head record.

Heineken Cup

See also 2006-07 Heineken Cup.

The quarterfinals are seeded from 1 to 8. The six pool winners receive the top six seeds, based on their point totals. The top two second-place finishers are seeded 7 and 8.

Fixtures are subject to late change. All times are local to the game site.

Key to colours
     Winner of each pool, plus two highest-ranked second-place teams,
advance to quarterfinals
     Still at least mathematically in contention for quarterfinals
     Cannot now qualify

Pool 4

Team Pld W D L TF PF PA +/- BP Pts
Leicester Tigers (4) 6 5 0 1 22 172 60 +112 3 23
Munster (7) 6 5 0 1 16 152 112 +40 3 23
Cardiff Blues 6 2 0 4 8 87 138 -51 1 9
Bourgoin 6 0 0 6 13 95 196 -101 4 4


Results - Round 1

15:00 2006-10-22
Tries: Penalty try
Con: Andy Goode
Pen: Paul Burke (2), Andy Goode (2)
Tries: Donncha O'Callaghan, David Wallace
Con: Ronan O'Gara
Pen: Ronan O'Gara (2)
Drop: Ronan O'Gara
Welford Road
Attendance: 16,815

Round 2

15:00 2006-10-29
Tries: Nick Robinson, Chris Czekaj
Con: Ben Blair (2)
Pen: Ben Blair
Tries: Ollie Smith, Tom Varndell
Con: Andy Goode
Pen: Andy Goode (2)
Drop goals: Sam Vesty
Millennium Stadium
Attendance: 26,645

Round 3

20:30 2006-12-08
Tries: Benoît Cabello, Jean-François Coux
Pen: Benjamin Boyet
Tries: Geordan Murphy, Tom Varndell, Martin Corry
Con: Andy Goode (2)
Pen: Andy Goode (3)
Stade Pierre Rajon
Attendance: 7,200

Round 4

14:45 2006-12-16
Tries: Lewis Moody (3), Harry Ellis, Shane Jennings (2), Daryl Gibson, Tom Varndell
Con: Andy Goode (7)
Pen: Andy Goode
Pen: Sebastien Laloo
Welford Road
Attendance: 16,000

Round 5

15:00 2007-01-13
Tries: Alesana Tuilagi, Dan Hipkiss, Daryl Gibson, Seru Rabeni, Lewis Moody, Martin Corry
Con: Ian Humphreys (2)
Welford Road
Attendance: 16,815

Round 6

17:35 2007-01-20
Pen: Ronan O'Gara (2)Tries: Geordan Murphy, Ollie Smith
Pen: Ian Humphreys
Thomond Park
Attendance: 13,200


LEICru21 – 20STAru
Tries: Rabeni 3' m
Varndell 72' c
Con: Goode
Pen: Goode (3) 24', 26', 52'
Try: Hernández 20' m
Pen: Skrela (4) 6', 35', 45', 64'
Drop: Skrela 70'
Welford Road[1]
Attendance: 16,815


Walkers Stadium, Leicester

Ricoh Arena, Coventry


Other Competitions Results





2006-2007 ins and outs

IN: Marcos Ayerza (prop - Argentina), Paul Burke (fly-half, Munster), Martin Castrogiovanni (prop - Calvisano, Italy), Jordan Crane (number eight - Leeds), Gavin Hickie (hooker - Worcester), Frank Murphy (scrum-half - Munster) Ian Humphreys (fly-half - Ulster).

OUT: Ross Broadfoot (fly-half - Bedford), Alex Dodge (centre - Nottingham), Austin Healey (scrum-half - retired), Will Johnson (flanker - Coventry), Daniel Montagu (number eight - Nottingham), Darren Morris (prop - Worcester), John Rawson (prop - released), Will Skinner (flanker - Harlequins), Ephraim Taukafa (hooker - released), Anitelia Tuilagi (centre/wing - Leeds, season loan), Brent Wilson (flanker - Newcastle), Alex Wright (scrum-half - released).

Current England elite squad

Other internationals

Current 'A' and 'Saxons' internationals

Notable former internationals

International captains



2004-2005 season

2005-2006 & 2006-2007 season

Matt Hampson

Matt Hampson (born 29 November 1984) is a former English rugby prop who became quadriplegic after a scrummaging practice accident for England U21 on 15 March 2005. Hampson's accident happened on Tuesday 15 March 2005 at an England U21 Training session. In what he described as a freak accident, a scrum collapsed in such as way as to break his neck. The rugby community have reacted by auctioning off sports memorabilia and holding benefit matches. Both the senior England and Scotland teams donated their shirts from their senior 2005 six nations match. Despite his injury, Matt remains enthusiastic about rugby.

Club Honours

See also

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  1. ^ Sherrard, Gary (25 January 2007). "Tigers to face Stade on Sunday April 1". Leicester Tigers. ((cite web)): Check date values in: |date= (help)