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Tigers ABC to Z: D is for Deano, Dodge & derbies

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Our Tigers ABC to Z series returns today with a focus on the letter D.D is for Deano “Deano, Deano, Deano.”   The refrain from around the ground was as much a part of matchdays at Welford Road as a pie and a pint and usually signalled that the Leicester Tigers pack was on top.   And at the heart of it was the iconic No8 Dean Richards.   Deano, as he was known to players and supporters alike, scored 105 tries in 314 appearances for the Tigers, invariably with his socks down by his ankles and his shirt untucked.   He won the inaugural league title with Tigers in 1988 and was a champion again in 1995. He captained Tigers from 1990-91 and again from 1993-97 and supporters voted him the No8 in the Walk of Legends.   Deano was capped 48 times by England, winning the Grand Slam in 1991, 1992 and 1995, and the Five Nations in 1996, and played at the World Cups of 1987, 1991 and 1995. He toured Australia in 1989 and New Zealand in 1993 with the British & Irish Lions.   After retirement, Deano was appointed Tigers director of rugby in 1998. Under him, Leicester won four successive Premiership titles (1999-2002) and two European Cups.   D is for Death or Glory Boys Leicester Football Club’s original nickname was the Death or Glory Boys. The new Tigers History Book documents that the club initially played in black, when the team had the Death or Glory Boys moniker, before changing to “a chocolate and yellow confection which is, almost certainly, the origin of their famous nickname, Tigers”.   D is for derby day Derby days against Northampton are often the first game that supporters look for when the fixtures are released.   And after meetings in the Premiership semi-finals and final over the last few years, plus the 2012 LV= Cup Final, the games are getting even bigger. Indeed, last season’s sold-out LV= Cup clash at Welford Road set a record pool stage attendance for the competition.   Tigers have played 234 games against Northampton, more times than any other opposition, with Leicester winning 130 of the meetings and drawing 20.   Third on that list are Coventry, the two teams having met 206 times with Tigers winning 100 and drawing 19.   A new derby was added to the fixture list last season when Wasps relocated to Coventry. And Tigers took the honours on their first visit to the Ricoh Arena, despite playing the whole of the second half with 14 men following Seremaia Bai’s red card, winning 26-21.   Head over to the Tigers Facebook page and tell us about your favourite derby game.   D is for Dodge One of only five players to make more than 400 appearances for the club, Paul Dodge’s 437 games, including six domestic Cup Finals, put him fifth on the all-time Tigers list.   He became the youngest player to receive his club tie for 20 first-team appearances aged 17 years and 304 days, and at 17 years and 206 days became the youngest post-War try-scorer when he scored against Mountain Ash.   Dodge formed a celebrated partnership with Clive Woodward and captained Tigers when they won the league in 1988.   In all he scored 93 tries for the club, plus 33 conversions, 40 penalties and three drop goals.   Dodge was capped 32 times by England, a then record for a centre, helping them to win the 1980 Grand Slam and captaining his country for the 1985 Five Nations and summer tour to New Zealand. He was also capped twice by the Lions on their South Africa tour in 1980.   Now the Tigers President, Dodge’s family connection to the club continued through his sons Alex and Oliver, who have both represented Leicester at first-team level.   And Tigers supporter Helen Brown admitted on the club Facebook page that “his legs were the reason I started supporting Tigers all those years ago!”    D is for Droglites An anagram of Old Tigers, the Droglites is the Leicester Tigers association of past players.   Commonly known as the Drogs, the former Tigers players hold charity events and functions, and occasionally lace up a pair of boots again for another last hurrah!   And the Drogs have a public bar in the Goldsmiths Stand in which old players are often to be found on home matchdays and which gets taken over once a year for their annual reunion. Click here for more on the Droglites    D is for drop goals There can have been few more important drop goals in Tigers’ history than the one landed by Andy Goode to win the 2008 Premiership semi-final against Gloucester at Kingsholm. Trailing by two points with the clock ticking past 80 minutes fly-half Goode’s kick secured a 26-25 win and a place in the final.   Gloucester were again on the receiving end of a drop goal special when Geordan Murphy landed one from inside his own half in a 24-10 win over the then league leaders in March 2009 at Welford Road.   Murphy famously described his last-minute drop goal against Saracens as "a dying duck". Unbeaten at home for 16 months, Murphy’s kick, which followed phase after phase after phase, gave Leicester a 20-19 victory. Watch it again by clicking here.   One of the most famous drop goals that Welford Road has witnessed came from Dusty Hare, whose kick from inside his own half helped the Midlands to a celebrated 19-13 win over the All Blacks in November 1983.   Les Cusworth’s 96 drop goals stands as a club record ahead of Jez Harris (70) and his four against Liverpool St Helens in 1989 in the most in a game by a player. Harris holds the record for most drop goals in a season with 14 in the 1993/94 and the 1994/95 campaigns.   Gelu Ignat, for Romania in 1990, Rob Andrew for Wasps in 1995 and Brock James for Clermont in 2009 hold the record for the most drop goals against Tigers with three.   Neil Back is the only forward in England’s history to score a drop goal. The Tigers back rower landed his kick against Italy in the 59-12 Six Nations victory in Rome in 2000.