Leicester Tigers will always pride themselves on silverware, and last weekend the club’s Under-18s were crowned national champions.
The Tigers team remained unbeaten through their league campaign and did a very professional job of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Gloucester in the Final last Sunday. It was a showpiece performance on a par with the destruction of Gloucester in the Premiership Final back in 2007 or the derby win over Saints at Twickenham in 2013.
And, let’s not forget that, as it stands today, it is a third piece of silverware in the Tigers grasp as Anglo-Welsh Cup holders (until Sunday anyway) and wheelchair rugby’s Super Series Division One winners.
While we’re looking at landmarks, the Final also signalled a third successive win for the club at Allianz Park, following the Cup semi-final last year and the recent Aviva Premiership encounter.
It was a joy to see a young team play with a real intent and a clinical attacking power, based on the forwards’ aggression in attack and defence. It was almost a textbook Cup Final appearance.
Gloucester scored 14 of their points in the closing 10 minutes, when Tigers already had 43 on the board, to show how clinical they had been. Credit goes the their rivals too for their persistence because they must have been shell-shocked by the opening 40 minutes when Tigers barely put a foot wrong, especially as they entered the contest with a perfect six-from-six record in the league programme.
The Tigers academy team included a mix of under-17s in their first year as academy players and under-18s who are looking to make the next step. Four of the team have gained senior experience – Cameron Jordan starting the Cup game at Wasps, while Will Yarnell, Sam Wager and Henri Lavin appeared off the bench in the competition – while Jordan and second-row partner George Martin have been selected by England at Under-18 level. But this appeared to be very much a squad squad effort with highlights everywhere you looked.
They will all accept that the road ahead is a challenging one and who knows where these teenagers will end up in a rugby context? But whatever they do next, they will have a Cup Final victory and an unbeaten season in a Tigers shirt to look back on.