World Cup winner Kay led the emotional applause of the players at the final whistle of a gruelling 37-31 win over Guinness Premiership play-off rivals Sale which was achieved despite playing with 14 men for an hour.
“The Leicester crowd are always great and at times out there on the pitch it was the noisiest I can ever remember it, even going back eight to ten years when we were winning all those trophies,” Kay said.
“That support really was massive in lifting the team.
“Now that we are moving across to the Walkers Stadium for our last couple of home games, we really need that to follow us there.
“We need to create the same Welford Road atmosphere at the Walkers.”
As a member of a depleted pack following the dismissal of Julian White in the first half, Kay was central to the team’s efforts to make up for that loss and gain the bonus-point win that took Tigers back to the top of the table with just two league games remaining.
“They obviously weren’t the ideal circumstances, but the guys showed a lot of heart, particularly in the scrum where losing Whitey was massive for us, and they all did a good job,” he said.
“Cockers said at half-time that we had to keep playing how we were and how we practise and things would come, and they did.
“Even down to 14 men, there is never going to be an issue about Leicester having the bottle and the ability to front up and make those big hits.”
Now the attention switches to the Walkers Stadium and Saturday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final against Bath, rivals Kay has come to know well in more than 250 games for Tigers in the last 10 years.
“It is a great stadium and a good place to play,” says Kay who made his 50th Heineken Cup appearance at the Walkers Stadium in the semi-final win over Llanelli Scarlets in 2007.
“The fans will have a big part to play towards the end of the season. I think when we lost over there a few years ago the fans remarked it was not Welford Road, it was not the same atmosphere. The challenge is down to them now to make the same atmosphere.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available. Kick-off is at 6pm. Phone the Tigers ticket hotline on 08701 28 34 30 or call in at Welford Road.