The players would gladly trade individual recognition in favour of team honours in this, the most ‘team’ of all team sports, but the number of Tigers in the frame for honours does illustrate just what the club has in its armoury.
George Ford is currently top points scorer in the Gallagher Premiership and Jonny May is joint-top tryscorer. Both have reached that level in a team which has attracted more headlines for its defensive record than its attacking prowess.
Fly-half Ford has already won the Players’ Player of the Year award and is a leading contender when it comes to the supporters’ vote too.
May, meanwhile, was a genuine stand-out in the international season, being nominated as Six Nations Player of the Tournament and this week named as England Player of the Season by his team-mates while being widely described as the form wing in world rugby.
Ben Youngs has become England’s most-capped scrum-half during 2018/19 while every patriotic fan cheered the return of Ellis Genge and Manu Tuilagi – who has played more games for Tigers this season than in many of its predecessors.
The Tig will also champion the cause of Dan Cole (always). Typically for a tighthead, he craves no spotlight but still epitomises the ethic of true sacrifice to the team cause and has played 25 games in the Premiership and Europe this season as well as his appearances with England.
We’ve seen Jonah Holmes win a first senior cap for Wales during a season which ended with a Grand Slam win and being named in Warren Gatland’s training squad for the World Cup, while Jake Kerr has capped a debut season as an established Premiership player with an international debut.
David Denton’s concussion issues ruled him out of the reckoning with Scotland, but Tigers will still have others at the World Cup, including Matt Toomua whose form not only made him an irresistible selection for the Wallabies but has also led them to tempting him home to play his club rugby there, and the 89-cap Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Tigers have also supplied captains of Wales Under-20s and England’s Under-18s, while almost every member of the team that started the Under-18 League Final has earned a call-up to international squads.
Marrying that individual quality into team results is clearly the challenge but at least we are not the only ones that can recognise the quality in the Tigers ranks.
*The Tig has already voted in the polls for the Supporters’ Awards (and not just for Coley) but who gets your vote? Click here for details.