April 21, 1979
Leicester Tigers rallied in the final minutes of the John Player Cup Final to come from behind and beat Moseley 15-12 at Twickenham to lift the trophy for the first time in the club’s history.
A 75th minute try from scrum-half Steve Kenney swung the game in Tigers’ favour as the ever-reliable boot of full-back Dusty Hare sealed the match for Leicester.
Hare collected the rest of Tigers’ points, successfully kicking one drop goal and two penalties to add to his conversion, ensuring the captain Peter Wheeler became the first Tigers player to get his hands on the John Player Cup.
The victory will help erase the memories of last season’s 3-6 final loss at the hands of Gloucester, with coach Chalkie White remarking “the club have earned this day.”
Thousands of supporters made the journey to Twickenham and it was the green, white and red support who had something to cheer about first as Hare kicked a remarkable 30-metre drop goal after seven minutes following a penalty for a scrum feed.
With three points for a drop goal, four points for a try and two for a conversion, Moseley came back and scored the game’s first try as scrum-half Gifford picked up the ball of the back of the scrum in the Tigers half before laying off wing Laird to go over in the left-hand corner.
Moseley full-back Akenhead kicked the points from the touchline to give them a 6-3 lead on 15 minutes.
They added to the score before half-time thanks to the boot of captain Cooper, scoring a drop goal in front of the posts to extend Moseley’s lead to nine points to Leicester’s three at the break.
The second half saw Tigers captain Wheeler penalised for hands in the ruck, giving Akenhead the opportunity to kick from 30 metres. The full-back punished Tigers, taking Moseley’s total to 12 points.
They would prove to be only points of the day for the Birmingham outfit as Tigers launched a spirited effort just after the hour mark.
Moseley’s forward pack had dominated much of the earlier action but superb work in the maul forced an obstruction from Moseley and Hare did the rest, clipping the penalty over in his distinctive style.
Tigers forced another penalty following a break from wing Mick Newton after some quick hands from Kenney, Cusworth, Burwell and Dodge.
The over-eager Moseley scrum-half Gifford obstructed in the breakdown and Hare once again applied the pressure with the boot as Tigers narrowed the score to 12-9 with just 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The comeback was completed as the Tigers forward effort was rewarded with a win at a scrum on the Moseley five-metre line and the nimble Kenney picked up the ball and dashed through to score and give Tigers the lead.
Once the jubilant fans had been cleared off the pitch, Hare held his nerve to make it 15-12 to Tigers and even four minutes of overtime was not enough for Moseley as referee Alan Welsby blew time on an historic day.
Watch the key highlights from the game below.
HALF TIME SCORE FULL TIME SCORE ATTENDANCE REFEREE
LEI 3 - 9 MOS LEI 15 – 12 MOS 20,000 Alan Welsby