Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
leicestertigers.comMattioli Woods Welford RoadContact UsTopps Tiles

Tigers ABC to Z: B is for Back, Barbarians and beer

Figure image
It's day two of our Tigers ABC to Z series and the chance to look at the letter B.B is for Back Neil Back won every major honour in a glittering career with Leicester Tigers, England and the British & Irish Lions.   He was a World Cup winner in 2003 alongside Tigers team-mates Martin Johnson, Martin Corry, Ben Kay, Lewis Moody, Dorian West and Julian White. Back played in six of the seven games in the tournament as well as at the 1995 and 1999 tournaments.   He won 66 caps for England, scoring 16 tries and landing a drop goal against Italy in Rome in 2000. He enjoyed an 80 per cent win record wearing the Red Rose.   Back won two Heineken Cups with Tigers, the Courage League in 1995, four successive Premiership titles around the turn of the millennium and two Pilkington Cups. His tally of 125 tries places him eighth on the club’s all-time scoring list and his 75 league tries is a club record.   In 2005, Back became the oldest man to play a Lions Test, in New Zealand on his third tour after also going to South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 2001 and in his final first-class appearance.    B is for back to back Tigers became the first team to win back-to-back European crowns when they defeated Munster in the Millennium Stadium in 2002.   Tigers won their first Heineken Cup the previous year when they beat Stade Francais 34-30 in an unforgettable game in Paris. Diego Dominguez kicked all of the Stade points, and his drop goal put the French side three points ahead with just three minutes remaining.   But there was a sting in the tail as Leon Lloyd finished off Austin Healey’s break to score at the right-hand corner and Tim Stimpson landed the touchline conversion to win it for Tigers. Relive the game here.   Tigers retained their title with tries from Healey and Geordan Murphy in a 15-9 victory over Munster and producing a sterling defensive effort.   The Final is also remembered for the so-called ‘Hand of Back’ when, as the European Professional Champions Rugby website reports, Back “appeared to knock the ball out of Peter Stringer's hands but neither the referee nor the touch judge spotted the infringement”.   Moments later, the final whistle sounded and Tigers were crowned Europe’s first back-to-back champions.   B is for Barbarians The Barbarians have played a huge part in Leicester Tigers history and the rivalry was renewed last season when they met at Welford Road as part of the BaaBaas’ 125th anniversary celebrations.   The invitational team ran out winners in that clash, which included some typically outrageous BaaBaas skills. Watch the highlights of the game by clicking here.    It was a welcome return to the fixture list as matches between Tigers and the Barbarians were traditionally the highlight of the year for supporters, with the biggest names in world rugby playing in the fixture each Christmas. For many fans, their first introduction to Tigers and, indeed, to rugby was at the annual Barbarians game.   Tigers first welcomed the Barbarians to Welford Road in 1909, the game finishing in a 9-9 draw. It became an annual fixture until the advent of professionalism in 1995. In all, Tigers and the Barbarians have met 87 times, with Tigers winning on 36 occasions, the BaaBaas 46 and five games drawn.   Such was the link between the two clubs that a room was named after the Barbarians in the old Clubhouse Stand, which housed BaaBaas memorabilia, mementos and keepsakes.   Also, 93 Tigers players have appeared for the Barbarians, the most being Brad Thorn against England at Twickenham last month.   Peter Wheeler played for Tigers against the Barbarians a record 14 times and also wore the BaaBaas’ famous black-and-white hoops 17 times.   Rory Underwood scored 11 tries in nine matches for the BaaBaas and he was one of a record five Tigers in the team which played against Ireland at Landsdowne Road in 1996, alongside Richard Cockerill, Darren Garforth, Dean Richards and Graham Rowntree.   B is for beer Last season, matchday visitors to Welford Road drank a record 185,309 pints of beer. Or the equivalent of 1,316 bath tubs’ full. That’s double the number of pints pulled in the previous season. Everards Tiger Best Bitter, the official beer of the Tigers, was the most popular drink among supporters. More than 30,000 pints of beer were drunk at the European Cup clash with Ulster Rugby in January 2014, a record for a single matchday at Welford Road.   B is for Big Boot The Big Boot is the popular half-time entertainment on Welford Road matchdays. Sponsored by De Montfort University, teams are challenged to catch 10 rugby balls pumped into the sky above Welford Road – often with very entertaining outcomes. Who will forget the team of clergy, in their cassocks, taking a turn as part of the Richard III Community Appeal? The Big Boot will return next season in a new format. The Ultimate Big Boot will see every member of the team on the pitch at the same time attempting to catch the 10 balls.   We’ll be updating the ABC to Z throughout the summer. You can add your suggestions and contributions on the club's Facebook and Twitter pages.