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John Player Cup ’79 | “And Kenney’s over…”

There’s 74 minutes on the clock. Tigers are trailing 9-12 to Moseley RFC at Twickenham Stadium in the final of the John Player Cup. The year is 1979. 

It’s a year that would kick-start an era of dominance for Leicester Tigers as the club overcame a dominant Mosely team on April 21 to win the club’s first-ever John Player Cup trophy. 

As part of the club’s celebrations marking 40 years since the cup win, LTTV caught up with former Tigers scrum-half and chairman of the past players association Steve Kenney to relive the day in the first part of our special series. 

Tigers will be commemorating the moment with a host of activities for fans to get involved with when Tigers welcome Bristol Bears to Welford Road in the Gallagher Premiership on April 27 (3.00pm).

The Match 

A final not remembered for its technical excellence, the Moseley forwards dominated the match for an hour after leading Tigers 9-3 at half-time. 

As the match went on, their forward effort began to wane and two successful penalties from the ever-reliable boot of Tigers full-back ‘Dusty Hare’ bought Leicester back from the brink. 

With just a few minutes left, the Tigers forward pack won a scrum on the Moseley five metre line and the nimble Kenney picked up the ball and broke for the line to go over.

The stadium erupted. Fans rushed onto the pitch and every Tiger ran towards Kenney to celebrate. 

Dusty made sure with the conversion and the rest is history. Tigers would go onto win retain the cup in 1980 and 1981, which also included a league and cup double.

Kenney’s own words

Watch Steve talk about his teammates, the magic of the cup and THAT try below.

Match tickets for Tigers against Bristol Bears are available from the Tigers ticket office and online or by calling 0116 319 8888 (option 2).