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Steve Booth: Tribute to 'real entertainer'

Leicester Tigers are shocked and saddened to hear of the death of former player Steve Booth at the age of 42.

Born in Pontefract, Steve played rugby league at Huddersfield and Doncaster before moving into the 15-man code as a Dean Richards signing for Tigers in the summer of 2000.

Tigers were halfway through a four-year league title-winning streak as Steve made his debut on the opening day of the 2000/01 season and he scored four tries in six appearances that term before firmly establishing himself a year later.

With his brightly coloured boots, eyecatching hairstyles and unpredictable style on the wing, Steve became a crowd favourite at Welford Road, scoring 12 tries in 2001/02 and then finishing the following season as the club’s top tryscorer.

He ran in 26 tries in 71 appearances in a four-year spell at the club, sharing in two Premiership titles and the historic back-to-back European Cup victories as well as earning representative honours with England Sevens and England ‘A’.

Geordan Murphy, a former team-mate and now head coach at Tigers, said: “Steve was a big personality in a dressing room full of big personalities.

“He always had something to say, but he was also ready to help and was a real caring guy.

“He came in from rugby league but settled in quickly and he played the best rugby of his career at Leicester in a very successful team.

“He was a real entertainer on the pitch and will be remembered as someone who could score tries out of nothing.

“We were shocked to hear of his passing and, on behalf of everyone at Tigers, pass on condolences to his partner and their family and friends.”

After leaving Tigers, Steve had a short spell at Premiership rivals Bath but settled in Leicester after his retirement from playing. He coached at clubs including Old Leamingtonians, Boston and South Leicester, did some work with the Tigers commentary team at BBC Radio Leicester and founded a digital design business in the city.

Former colleagues Andy Goode and Tom Varndell, and former club Bath Rugby are among those to pay their tributes this morning.

The funeral is at 2.30pm at Great Glen Crematorium on Friday, August 30. All welcome.