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Never-ending process of improvement

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Inspired by the announcement that George Chuter is now an ex-player, The Tig can think of almost a full squad, and certainly a top-class pack of forwards, who have retired as Tigers players in the last eight or nine years.

Geordan Murphy, Aaron Mauger, Austin Healey, Jeremy Staunton, Paul Burke and Harry Ellis in their prime would form the basis of a very good backline for anyone.

And what about a pack comprising Rowntree, Chuter, White, Johnson, Kay, Newby, Back and Corry? And guys like Woods, Blaze and Herring as replacements and that is an eight to establish ball against any team.

Not only is that a frightening amount of quality – remember these are only players who retired in situ – but it also shows the pressure on the club’s recruitment policy every year.

To replace those names, Tigers have brought in the likes of Ayerza, Parling, Kitchener, Salvi, Allen, Tait and Flood; nurtured homegrown talents including Cole, Croft, Youngs and Youngs; and unearthed the likes of Slater, Mafi, Stankovich, Morris and Scully to keep the team at the forefront of the domestic game.

It is a technique many other previous league champions or cup winners would give their right arm to match. Many clubs have had their glories and then dipped, while Tigers have always been there or thereabouts when it comes to the prize-giving.

The guys who have played their last would be among the first in hoping that Tigers talent continues to pay benefits.