Freddie Steward says it was a “special moment” to be able to play in front of family and friends again after more than 14 months of games behind closed doors.
Leicester Tigers full-back Steward has firmly established himself in the senior squad during the period when games have not been open to supporters but had an opportunity to run out in front of a crowd again at last in Friday’s European Challenge Cup Final.
“It was an amazing experience walking out at the start at Twickenham,” said the 20-year-old as Twickenham permitted a crowd of 10,000 for the game against Montpellier, with the vast majority following in Green, White and Red.
“And to have the crowd in and to have family back was special because they’ve not been able to watch for months.
“It is really special and it was emotional to see them because they’ve not been able to come and watch for months – my mum and dad, and grandad who’s not seen me play very often.”
Tigers have a first league game in front of a crowd at Worcester Warriors on Saturday and then have a chance to run out at Mattioli Woods Welford Road with supporters for the first time since February 2020 when Bristol Bears are the visitors on Saturday, June 5. Click here for ticket details of this fixture and other big games coming up at the home of the Tigers.
Reflecting on the Cup Final against Montpellier in his first Twickenham appearance, Steward said: “We worked really hard to get here and we’re gutted that we didn’t get the win. We got into a lead but we couldn’t get it over the line so lessons are to be learned there. We learn from it and make sure there is no repeat.
“We gave away a few penalties we shouldn’t have which gave them territory and they kicked into our half and converted from there. When we had the ball in their half we need to convert those into points.”