And with him on the pitch for that famous moment was Matt’s dad Ian ‘Dosser’ Smith in acknowledgement of their acheivement in becoming the first father and son to start 100 games for the Tigers.
Matt was honoured to receive his cap but also in good measure pleased to get the presentation over and done with because it is not his style to grab the limelight or the headlines.
Rather, in true chip-off-the-old-block style, Matt is a true club man who does his job every day of the week, keeps his head down and makes little fuss, much in the way Dosser did on 300-plus occasions in a Tigers shirt.
But just because he doesn’t have the profile, that is not to say Matt is any less of a man than any star-name colleagues.
Smith is one of those cogs that meshes together the work of a team, and they are the men who have been revered over generations in Tigers colours in this most inclusive team sport.
And there is a lot more to him than that. Think back to some of the biggest games in recent seasons and you can bet Smith played his part. His defence is immense, pace deceptive, physical work vital, and just remember the importance of his tries.
Saints seem to be a favourite foe and The Tig can remember several tries against our derby rivals, including one with Chris Ashton hanging off him in front of the Crumbie Terrace and one this season in another full-blooded East Midlands match.
London Irish have been on the end of some of Smith’s classiest scores too, with the finish to a sweeping move following a loop from Alesana Tuilagi a couple of seasons ago. Then there was a vital trial in a home win over Quins with Mike Brown making the despairing tackle, a nick-of-time dot down against the same opponents back in 2008/09 and of course a score in the Premiership Final win over Saracens in 2010.
The Smith family have a great deal to take pride in, and their place in club history was illusrtated perfectly by the presence of Johnson, the reception from the playing squad and the response of the Welford Road crowd. It was a sign of honouring 'one of their own' and you just cannot buy that.