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Club: History



Leicester Tigers enjoyed a successful start to the new millennium, taking the treble in the 2000/01 season as they picked up two domestic trophies (Zurich Premiership and Zurich Championship) and the Heineken Cup where they beat Stade Français 34-30 at Parc des Princes.

The club built on its success in 2001/02, winning the Zurich Premiership to make it four years in a row as the number one club in England, and securing a back-to-back Heineken Cup win to reinforce Tigers' position as top team in Europe.

Tigers' second Heineken Cup was secured against Munster, a back-to-back double in Europe

Tigers' second Heineken Cup was secured against Munster, a back-to-back double in Europe

Tigers' second Heineken Cup came at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff against Irish side Munster with a 15-9 victory. August 2002 saw Leicester face French champions Biarritz in the Orange Cup - a battle between the league winners of France and England. Tigers came out top, narrowly beating the French side by 14-13.

The 2002/03 season was not so successful for the team who failed to pick up any silverware. However, they made it through to the Powergen Cup semi-final (losing to Gloucester after a controversial refereeing decision), faced Munster in the Heineken Cup quarter-final at Welford Road in front of over 17,000 supporters, and secured a place in Europe for 2003/04 via the Zurich Wildcard.

Tigers U21s enjoyed a successful 2002/03 season, winning all but two league games and beating Gloucester U21s convincingly in the final match to take the Zurich U21s League title.

Off the pitch, the Tigers community programme continues to thrive and now spreads the Tigers word as far as Wakefield, Norfolk and Birmingham. Alliance & Leicester TAG has moved into its second three-year term after picking up a series of national awards including the Sportsmatch Overall Winner for 2002.

After their success between 1998 and 2002, Tigers would probably want to put the 2003/04 season behind them as quickly as possible.

Rugby World Cup call-ups wrecked havoc with the team during the season - they lost eight members of their pack to the tournament - and they suffered defeats in seven of their first 13 Zurich Premiership games of the season.

Their Zurich Premiership season, however, got back on track in the final four months, the team remaining unbeaten over that time and winning a spot in the 2004/05 Heineken Cup season through the Zurich Wildcard, after they failed to make the knockout stages of the 2003/04 Heineken Cup.

Off the field, Leicester Tigers announced a record turnover of over £10million, while director of rugby Dean Richards left the club after 23 years to be replaced by his former No.2 John Wells. Ex-Tigers stars Pat Howard and Richard Cockerill were also added to the coaching staff as backs and forwards coaches respectively.

Welford Road's sell-out crowds continued to increase and in 2003/04 the club boasted 11 capacity home matches and over 13,500 members.

After failing to win in two successive Premiership Finals, Tigers ended a five-year wait for a trophy in 2006/07 when Martin Corry lifted the EDF Energy Cup after defeating the Ospreys 41-35 in the second season of Anglo-Welsh Cup rugby. More was to come and, with Pat Howard in his final term as head coach, the team also reached the finals of the Guinness Premiership and Heineken Cup. A sensational win over Gloucester in the English final set up a potentially remarkable Treble but it proved one game too far when London Wasps triumped at Twickenham to claim the European crown.

Although Tigers failed to reach the knockout stages in Europe a season later, with Argentina's World Cup coach Marcelo Loffreda now in charge, Corry did lead out the team in the finals of the EDF Energy Trophy and the Guinness Premiership. There was to be no silver lining, though, as Ospreys turned the tables in the Anglo-Welsh tournament and Wasps picked up the domestic honours.

In 2008/09, with work beginning on a ground redevelopment which would take Welford Road capacity to 24,000, Tigers began the season with another overseas head coach in South African Heyneke Meyer. But he returned home on compassionate grounds at Christmas and it was Richard Cockerill who took the reins as the team topped the table and clinched a record eighth league title with Guinness Premiership Final victory over London Irish. A week later a fifth Heineken Cup Final appearance awaited, but Tigers fell at the last hurdle, with Leinster taking the crown in a closely-fought encounter at Murrayfield.

With Cockerill in charge for his first full season, Tigers retain their Guinness Premiership title in 2009/10.

The new Caterpillar Stand at Welford Road took capacity up to 24,000 and a full house witnessed an historic 22-17 victory over world champions South Africa at the official opening, with Lucas Amorosino scoring the only try, Ben Youngs kicking 17 points and the whole team showing a defensive determination which would have graced any of the Tigers greatest days.

With average attendances topping a record 22,000 at Welford Road, Tigers were beaten just once on home soil as they topped the league table. A semi-final victory over old rivals Bath followed, and Saracens were beaten in the final in front of a crowd of 80,000 with a late, late try by Dan Hipkiss proving decisive. Geordan Murphy, playing in his sixth successive Premiership final, lifted the trophy as captain for a second time and the ninth time in the club's history.

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