By Dean Richards - 314 games for Tigers, plus 48 England and 6 Lions caps between 1982-97
The game now is much changed, if you look at the late 80's when everybody thought that rugby was in turmoil because we wanted a league system in England and how when it was introduced everyone applauded it as a great concept. Now here we are 12 years down the line and we are trying to find an alternative league and there is disharmony between the clubs and the unions and so I suppose on one hand things haven't changed that much in the last decade!
I think if you look at the way professionalism has changed the game, other countries such as Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have adopted a professional attitude for a long time. It probably took us until 1997 to turn professional. By then those other countries had adopted a different approach for 10 years, we are still catching up.
Half-time during the Pilkington Cup semi-final in 1993
Amongst all the turmoil and problems there have been some notable achievements. England still won four grand slams and six Triple Crowns in the decade and got to the final of the World Cup as well as a Semi Final and a Quarter Final. Bath had won the European Cup and Leicester were the first English team to get through to the European final - there are a lot of good things in English rugby and I believe that it is getting stronger and stronger.
I have some great memories of the decade - Leicester winning the championship last year and the 1993 Pilkington Cup final win over Harlequins were great days for the club, a real Leicester day - the initial advent of professionalism changed some of that, for instance the Pilkington Cup win against Sale did not have quite the same buzz. The decade started pretty well with 12-0 victory over Bath at the Rec in the cup in 1990, still the only time in 132 home league and cup matches that they have ever been "nilled" at the Rec.
Rory and Tony Underwood after the 1993 Pilkington Cup victory
|Pld 378, Won 278, Drew 6, Lost 94|
|Biggest win:||100-0 vs Liverpool St Helens on 11 Apr 1992|
|Most Appearances in Era:||Darren Garforth 240+6, Graham Rowntree 215+15, Martin Johnson 214+1|
|Most Tries in Era:||Steve Hackney 85, Rory Underwood 76, Neil Back 72|
|Most Points in Era:||John Liley 2280, Joel Stransky 896, Jez Harris 873|