Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

BOD is right on the mark again

Figure image
There is the kind of rugby player who you don't always full appreciate until he's not there. Anthony Allen could have been one of those players, though not judging by the reaction to his retirement this season.Compact, strong and totally committed, Ant Allen also had the individual skills to play in any company and the strength of will to come out favourably in comparison with just about anyone.   When an authority like Brian O’Driscoll tells the world that the Tigers centre should have had 40 Test caps, you should take notice. No doubt that meant a lot to Ant as he contemplates a future away from the playing field.   A players’ player, an unsung hero, the ‘glue’ in the team, a top-class professional, all of these have been said since Allen admitted he had played his last game at the age of just 28.   The terms fit him perfectly, but The Tig is among those in the crowd who always felt there was so a lot more too.   Let’s also acknowledge Ant’s individual skills levels with ball in hand, the little pause and half-break on the angle which provided the catalyst for some of the best work of dangermen Manu and Niki, the invaluable understanding of the game, the crowd-pleasing performances and the influence he has had on those around him.   Many in the crowd and in the dressing room felt, like O’Driscoll, that Ant deserved more international recognition. Perhaps the baggage of his two caps earned as a kid went against him, because nothing he did in a Leicester shirt could have gained negative marks.   The Tig recalls the influence of Riki Flutey on the last Wasps team to win silverware and the scope of Seilala Mapusua’s drove in the London Irish team that reached a Premiership Final. From centre, they provided a backbone to the backline and the starting point for all that was good going forward in their teams. Allen did the same for Tigers – and don’t forget the quality of company he has kept in that time.   Two Premiership titles, a Premiership Final try, a Premiership Final man-of-the-match award, a try of the season at Bath when he received ball in his own 22 and was tackled before he reached halfway but still ran clear to score, a thousand tackles (including around 900 on guys bigger than him) and numerous midfield breaks which ignited the rest of the attack provide just some of the highlights.   Oddly for a man who accomplished so much, another highlight came in in the unlikely circumstances of a cameo in Treviso when he returned from injury and his quality immediately provided a standard for seemingly beleaguered colleagues to rally around.   Thanks Ant. It’s been our pleasure.