Leicester Tigers, the “Manchester United” of rugby.
Leicester Tigers can lay claim to be the most successful club in the 25 year history of the English league with 9 English championships to their name since the league was introduced in 1987. They have dominated the Premier tier of rugby in England, currently known as the Aviva Premiership, which has led some to compare them to the equally successful football team Manchester United which also boasts many titles and international players in their ranks.
Even from an early stage Leicester Tigers enjoyed success. In 1906 they dropped out of the Midlands Cup after 7 successive titles to give other teams a chance. Leicester Tigers more recent form includes some impressive statistics, with seven consecutive appearances in the Finals of the Premiership and never finishing below sixth in the league to add to their 9 titles.
Their record in the Heineken Cup Competition, which pitches the best club rugby teams in Europe against each other, is also impressive. Leicester Tigers are the only team to qualify for every tournament, they won back to back titles in 2001 and 2002 and lost in the 1997, 2007 and 2009 finals. Leinster Rugby who beat Leicester Tigers in the 2009 competition, are trying to emulate the back to back victories in the 2012 final against Ulster.
History of Leicester Tigers
Leicester Football Club was formed in 1880. Its believed the ‘Tigers’ nickname was first used 5 years later and either came from the Leicestershire Regiment who were known as the Tigers following their tour of duty in India or because of the teams striped shirts.
The team have played at Welford Road since 1892. In 2005 there were discussions with the local Football team to ground share a new stadium but these plans fell through and their Welford Road Stadium was redeveloped with capacity increased to 24,ooo.
Leicester Tigers Rivals
Understandably every team want to beat Leicester Tigers but the fiercest content is against neighbours Northampton Saints in the East Midlands Derby. There are more than points at stake when the teams meet, pride and bragging rights are also on the line.
Leicester Tigers Rugby Gear
For many years the distinctive Leicester Tigers striped rugby jersey was made by Cotton Traders but from 2012 their rugby gear will be supplied by Canterbury. The first new strip was not an instant hit with fans but does still feature the scarlet, green and white stripes.
Players for Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers have featured many international stars in their line up over the years. In 2003 alone they had seven of the Rugby World Cup winning England Team among their ranks in Martin Johnson (captain), Neil Back, Martin Corry, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Dorian West and Julian White.
The changing face of the game in the professional era has seen more foreign players feature in Tiger stripes and internationals for Argentina, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Italy have all pulled on the famous Leicester Tigers shirt.
This has at times left the team struggling while the players were on international duty, as was the case in the 2011/12 season which saw a disastrous start to the Premiership campaign while key players were at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Former captain now coach, Geordan Murphy played his entire professional career for Leicester Tigers. He won 72 international caps for Ireland while managing to also amass 300+ matches for Tigers.