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Manu image is crowned best of the season

Leicester Tigers supporters have chosen their favourite image from the 2018/19 season.

Manu Tuilagi’s leap through the air to score against Newcastle Falcons at Welford Road in Round 2 of the Gallagher Premiership topped a poll of fans, with 31% of the vote.

Each of the Tiger Images team of club photographers – James Baylis, Malcolm Couzens, Geoff Sellars and Dave Wainwright – had selected two photos of their own to be included in the shortlist, but it was Sellars’ shot that proved most popular with supporters.

And Geoff, nicknamed ‘Santa’ by players, club staff and supporters alike for his white beard and famous Christmas outfit, said he was ‘chuffed’ to get the shot.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Sellars explained. “This was Manu’s first try back [from injury], and he ran straight towards me with that great smile.

“I was really appreciative that Manu did that – the photo was used seven times in The Times and did particularly well in France – so he did me a really good favour!”

The reverse angle of Tuilagi’s celebration, caught by fellow Tigers Images photographer Malcolm Couzens, shows Geoff narrowly avoiding being mobbed by the rest of the Tigers squad as they rush in to congratulate their team-mate.

Sellars continued: “I always try to take a few photos of the celebration, but in that particular case all I could do was get out of the way with all the lads around.

“But I was just chuffed that I knew I had got ‘the’ picture.”

Of the fans that voted for the winning photograph, Tigers fan and season ticket holder Derek Moulding from Coventry was chosen at random to win a canvas of the image signed by Tigers, England and British & Irish Lions star Tuilagi.

“I’m absolutely shocked to have won,” Moulding said. “I’m delighted. I can’t wait to put it up!”