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Leicester Tigers – Rugby Union Club Team

A line of rugby players, dressed in team uniforms, standing side by side on the field with bowed heads.

Rugby fans want to know who tops the charts in English rugby. Meet the Leicester Tigers, a team steeped in rich history since 1880. This blog post will tackle their journey, from early triumphs to modern-day glories, providing insights every supporter craves.

Dive into the world of a true rugby legend!

Key Takeaways

  • The Leicester Tigers are a historic rugby union club, established in 1880 and have become one of the most successful teams in English Rugby history.
  • They play their home matches at Welford Road Stadium, the largest dedicated club rugby ground in the UK, and sport vibrant green, red, and white colours which symbolise their strong heritage.
  • Notable periods of success include multiple league titles and back-to-back Heineken Cup victories; key figures like Martin Johnson and Neil Back contributed greatly during these times.
  • Following championship wins from 2004 to 2013, they faced a title drought until Steve Borthwick took charge as head coach in 2020 aiming to revive the team’s fortunes.
  • The club has produced many international players who’ve made significant impacts for their national teams. Graham Rowntree holds the record for most appearances with Leicester Tigers while Dusty Hare is their leading point scorer.

History of Leicester Tigers

Founded in 1880, the Leicester Tigers have a rich history that includes periods of success and transition. From their early years to their recent coaching changes, the club has experienced both highs and lows throughout its long-standing history.

Foundation and Tom Crumbie era (1880–1928)

The Leicester Tigers, a formidable name in rugby union, rooted their beginnings back to 1880. Grounded in tradition and sheer determination, they quickly became a force within the Midlands, showcasing unmatched skill and tenacious gameplay that earned them consecutive triumphs in the Midland Counties Cup.

These early victories set a tone of excellence and domination that would become synonymous with the club.

Enter Tom Crumbie – an influential figure whose vision steered the Tigers through transformative years. His leadership from 1895 catapulted Leicester into an era of unprecedented growth both on and off the field.

Under his guidance, Welford Road expanded its reach as it turned into the United Kingdom’s largest dedicated club rugby ground—a fortress for what was fast becoming one of England Rugby’s most iconic teams.

The team’s prowess during this period laid down a legacy of success that has echoed throughout their storied history.

Lions captains, decline, and club restructure (1928–1971)

Transitioning from the Foundation and Tom Crumbie era (1880–1928) to Lions captains, decline, and club restructure (1928–1971), Leicester Tigers saw a shift in their fortunes during these years.

As they entered the new era, the club faced challenges as they navigated through changes in leadership and internal restructuring. The introduction of professional rugby brought about a period of adjustment for the club, impacting its performance on the field.

Leicester Tigers experienced a significant transformation during this time frame: adjusting to modernised rugby structures while striving to maintain their historical success. As they adapted to changes in both playing dynamics and club management, Leicester Tigers sought ways to regain their renowned prowess within English Rugby.

Introduction of competitions (1971–1978)

The 1970s marked a significant period for Leicester Tigers as they transitioned into a more competitive phase, embracing the inception of various rugby competitions. This era saw the club’s participation in newly established tournaments, showcasing their enduring commitment to achieving excellence on the pitch.

As Leicester Tigers delved into these new platforms, their dedication to shaping the future of English rugby was evident, laying the foundation for an illustrious journey in competitive rugby.

The introduction of these competitions provided a pivotal platform for the team to exhibit their prowess and resilience on both national and international stages, solidifying their reputation as formidable contenders in the world of rugby.

Centenary and cup and league success (1979–1988)

Following the introduction of competitions between 1971 and 1978, Leicester Tigers experienced a period of celebratory success during their centenary years. Over this decade, they secured notable cup and league triumphs, marking a significant era in the club’s history.

The Tigers’ achievement at reaching their centenary year was underscored by their accomplishments on the pitch, with impressive performances that solidified their position as one of England’s most successful rugby teams.

During this time, Leicester Tigers continued to build on their storied legacy and established themselves as formidable contenders in both domestic cup competitions and league play.

Throughout the late ’70s to late ’80s Leicester Tigers celebrated numerous victories in various prestigious tournaments, which further bolstered their reputation for excellence within English rugby.

Professional and European success (1993–2003)

Following a decade of significant domestic achievements, Leicester Tigers continued their success into the 1990s and early 2000s. The period saw the club win back-to-back league titles in 1999 and 2000, establishing themselves as a powerhouse within English rugby.

Their dominance extended to European competition, with the Tigers clinching two consecutive Heineken Cup victories in 2001 and 2002, solidifying their place as one of the most successful teams in Europe.

This era showcased Leicester Tigers’ ability to compete at the highest level both domestically and on the continental stage.

As part of this successful period for Leicester Tigers, they boasted an exceptional lineup including legendary players such as Martin Johnson, Neil Back, and Graham Rowntree – all integral figures in England’s victorious Rugby World Cup campaign in 2003.

Premiership success (2004–2013)

Following their remarkable professional and European success in the previous decade, Leicester Tigers continued to dominate the Aviva Premiership from 2004 to 2013. During this period, they secured four Premiership titles (in 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, and 2012–13) and consistently remained at the top end of the table throughout these years.

The team’s impressive performances were led by a roster of exceptional players such as Martin Johnson, Lewis Moody, Ben Kay, Geordan Murphy, and Tom Croft. Their skilled leadership on the field underlined Leicester Tigers’ status as a formidable force in English rugby.

Leicester Tigers’ consistent display of strength and skill during this period solidified their reputation as one of England’s premier rugby teams. With an unwavering focus on securing victories and lifting trophies, they firmly established themselves as a dominant presence within the Aviva Premiership while continuing to build upon their rich legacy in English rugby history.

Championship drought (2013–2020)

Leicester Tigers experienced a challenging period from 2013 to 2020, marked by a championship drought in the Aviva Premiership. Despite their rich history and previous successes, the team faced significant struggles during this time.

The absence of securing the championship title led to a period of reflection and reevaluation for the club as they sought to regain their dominant position in English rugby.

During this timeframe, Leicester Tigers worked tirelessly to reshape their strategies, squad dynamics, and coaching approach in order to reclaim their former glory. This period served as a pivotal moment for the team, driving them towards revitalisation and renewed determination to emerge stronger than ever before.

Borthwick in charge (2020–2022)

After a period of championship drought from 2013 to 2020, Leicester Tigers saw a change in leadership with the appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach. Borthwick brought an impressive coaching pedigree, previously serving as assistant coach for England’s national team and playing a significant role in Saracens’ triumphs in domestic and European rugby.

Under Borthwick’s guidance, the squad development and performance showed promising signs of improvement. His emphasis on tactical discipline and player development aimed to bring Leicester Tigers back to their former glory.

The fans are hopeful that the club will benefit from his experience and strategic approach, ultimately leading them to regain their dominance in the Premiership Rugby competition.

Women’s Team

The Leicester Tigers Women’s Team has a rich history of success similar to the men’s team. Established with the same commitment to excellence, they have become a dominant force in women’s rugby, attracting crowds and achieving significant victories on the field.

The team continues to uphold the club’s tradition of success and remains an integral part of Leicester Tigers’ legacy.

The Leicester Tigers Women’s Team not only contributes to their remarkable track record but also helps pave the way for women in sports, inspiring a new generation of female athletes.

With their tireless dedication and exceptional skill, they embody passion and determination both on and off the field.

Team Overview

The Leicester Tigers rugby union team has a rich history and an impressive roster of players, both current and former. With a strong tradition of success, the Tigers have produced many international players and boast a passionate fanbase.

Current Squad

Taking pride in a legacy that’s as venerable as it is victorious, the Leicester Tigers boast a current squad teeming with talent and ambition. Here’s a glimpse into the warriors who don the green, red, and white, embodying the spirit of a club with the roar of over a century’s success.

PropEllis GengeEngland
HookerTom YoungsEngland
LockCalum GreenEngland
FlankerTommy ReffellWales
Scrum-halfBen YoungsEngland
Fly-halfGeorge FordEngland
CentreMatías MoroniArgentina
WingNemani NadoloFiji
FullbackFreddie StewardEngland

Leicester Tigers’ roster reflects a blend of seasoned internationals and burgeoning talent, each player contributing to the club’s revered reputation. Next, we explore the historic grounds they call home: Welford Road stadium.

Notable Former Players

Leicester Tigers have had a host of outstanding former players. Many of them have made significant contributions to the team, leaving a lasting impact. Some notable former players include:

  1. Martin Johnson – A legendary lock who captained England to World Cup glory in 2003 and played over 350 games for Leicester Tigers.
  2. Neil Back – An influential flanker who was part of the World Cup-winning England team alongside Martin Johnson.
  3. Rory Underwood – One of the finest wingers in rugby history, he scored 134 tries for Leicester Tigers and represented England and the British and Irish Lions.
  4. Dusty Hare – A prolific goal-kicker, he is Leicester Tigers’ all-time leading points scorer with over 7,000 points.
  5. Les Cusworth – The talented fly-half played over 300 games for Leicester Tigers and represented England on numerous occasions.
  6. Dean Richards – A dominant number eight who was renowned for his leadership and physical presence on the field.
  7. Austin Healey – A versatile player known for his skill and competitiveness, he contributed significantly to Leicester Tigers’ success.
  8. Geordan Murphy – An exceptional fullback with superb attacking abilities, he enjoyed a successful career at Leicester Tigers before transitioning into coaching roles within the club.
  9. Peter Wheeler – A highly respected hooker who made a significant impact during his time at Leicester Tigers, also representing England.
  10. Ben Kay – An accomplished second-row forward, known for his athleticism and aerial prowess in the lineouts.

Record Appearances and Scorers

Transitioning from “Notable Former Players,” let’s delve into the record appearances and top scorers for Leicester Tigers. Graham Rowntree holds the record for the most appearances, having played 398 matches between 1988 and 2007, while Dusty Hare stands as the club’s leading point scorer with an incredible 6705 points accumulated over his career. These players have left a lasting impact on Leicester Tigers’ history and continue to inspire current and future generations of rugby players.

International Players

Transitioning from discussing record appearances and scorers, to the international players, Leicester Tigers have had a strong presence on the global rugby stage. Many of their players have made significant impacts while representing their respective national teams. Let’s delve into some of the notable international players who have donned the Leicester Tigers jersey:

  1. Martin Johnson – A legendary figure for both Leicester Tigers and England, Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest locks in rugby history. He captained England to victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
  2. Rory Underwood – Known for his blistering pace and clinical finishing, Underwood was a prolific try-scorer for both England and Leicester Tigers during his illustrious career.
  3. Ben Youngs – A dynamic scrum-half, Youngs has been a key player for both England and Leicester Tigers, known for his sharp decision-making and ability to dictate play.
  4. Neil Back – Renowned for his work rate and incredible turnovers at the breakdown, Back was an integral part of the successful England team that won the 2003 Rugby World Cup.
  5. Geordan Murphy – Hailing from Ireland, Murphy’s exceptional skills at fullback made him a standout performer for both Ireland and Leicester Tigers throughout his career.
  6. Dan Cole – An imposing presence in the front row, Cole’s prowess as a prop has seen him represent England with distinction while being an influential figure at Leicester Tigers.

Stadium and Playing Colors

Sitting proudly in the heart of Leicester, the Welford Road Stadium serves as the home ground for the esteemed Leicester Tigers. This historic stadium, with a seating capacity of over 25,000, stands as the largest dedicated club rugby venue in the UK.

As one of English rugby’s most iconic stadiums, it has witnessed countless memorable matches and triumphs throughout its rich history. The team’s playing colors are striking green, red, and white – a nod to their storied legacy and tradition.

These vibrant colors represent strength and resilience on the field and have become synonymous with Leicester’s proud rugby heritage.

Moving ahead towards “6. Coaches and Coaching Staff,” let’s delve into the backbone of Leicester Tigers’ success off the field.

Coaches and Coaching Staff

The Welford Road stadium boasts a strong coaching staff and management team, helping to drive the Tigers’ success. Here’s a breakdown of who steers the Leicester Tigers:

  1. Steve Borthwick: As head coach since 2020, Borthwick brings his experience as a former England assistant coach and Saracens player.
  2. Mike Ford: A former England defense coach, Ford serves as the Tigers’ defensive strategist.
  3. Aled Walters: The strength and conditioning coach hails from South Africa and has previously worked with Munster and the Springboks.
  4. Matt Smith: A club legend who transitioned into coaching after a successful playing career with Leicester.
  5. Boris Stankovich: As scrum coach, Stankovich contributes his expertise from time spent with Munster, Ulster, and Worcester Warriors.
  6. Anthony Allen: The former Tigers center supports attack coaching alongside his role in the club’s academy development program.


Leicester Tigers, founded in 1880, have a proud history of being the most successful team in English Rugby. With a tradition steeped in success and an unwavering fan base, they continue to command the biggest crowds in the UK.

The Tigers are synonymous with dominance and excellence, portraying their rich and storied history on the rugby field year after year. Their stronghold at Welford Road stands as a testament to their enduring legacy as a powerhouse in English rugby.


1. Who are the Leicester Tigers?

The Leicester Tigers are a rugby union club team filled with talented players known for their impressive stats and strong presence in the sport.

2. What can fans expect from the upcoming fixtures for the Leicester Tigers?

Fans can look forward to exciting matches as they check out the latest rugby fixtures for this top-performing Leicester team.

3. Where do new rugby talents come from for the Rugby Tigers?

New talents often emerge from the club’s rugby academy, where young players train to potentially join the professional rugby squad.

4. How do I stay updated with all things related to Rugby Union’s Leicester Tigers?

For updates on players, games, and general rugby news involving the Rugby Union Club Team, be sure to follow official sources and media coverage dedicated to profiling everything about the Leicester Tigers.

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