It has been noted that the Lions go into the first Test on Saturday without any Leicester Tigers representation. It is disappointing but what is remarkable is not the absence of Tigers players, but more the fact that the club has been involved in every other tour in the last half a century.
It’s like a team missing out on trophies – winning silverware is remarkable and not the missing out. And winning is something we have all witnessed many times over as Tigers fans.
Only one club per season can get their hands on a Premiership trophy. They are unique, not the 11 (or 12 from next season) who do not get that close.
In Europe, the odds are even greater on picking up a cup.
Rather than lament it, the absence of 2021 Lions should only increase the appreciation of just how incredible that 50-year run has been within the context of the club supplying players to the pinnacle of international rugby.
For the last 13 cycles of British & Irish Lions tours, Leicester have had players selected out of all the talent available in these rugby isles.
The #Tigersfamily will sympathise and support the players who would have been in the conversations around inclusion this time around, even if that is of little comfort for any player who had not made the final reckoning.
In the end, though, there are no Tigers stripes in the Lions den.
So while we watch the 2021 tour, let’s celebrate those who have gone before, the Tigers who built that 50-year run in red.
Where do you start in recounting the names?
It is a bar set high, but The Tig would go with Peter Wheeler, Paul Dodge, Dusty Hare, Dean Richards, Rory and Tony Underwood, Martin Johnson, Neil Back, Austin Healey and Martin Corry, which is not bad for starters.
Then add the likes of Tom Croft, Harry Ellis, Tom and Ben Youngs, Dan Cole, Manu Tuilagi, Graham Rowntree, Geordan Murphy and World Cup winners Ben Kay and Lewis Moody as a follow-up.
There are many more, of course, in a phenomenal list of special players. And they all played for OUR club. That is something to remember this summer.