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Tigers ABC to Z: J is for Johnno

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Leicester Tigers, England and Lions legend Martin Johnson heads today's selection as our Tigers ABC to Z series reaches the letter J.J is for Johnno Captain of England’s 2003 World Cup winners, twice a captain of the British & Irish Lions tourists and captain of Leicester Tigers’ back-to-back Heineken Cup winning teams, Martin Osborne Johnson is widely regarded as one of the greatest locks to have played rugby.   Indeed, rugby fans on Twitter have voted him into the all-time Rugby World Cup Dream Team.   He made 362 Tigers appearances, putting him 13th on the all-time club list, and won five league titles, two domestic cups as well as the two European crowns.   His 84 caps making him England’s fifth most-capped player and as well as winning the 2003 World Cup, he was part of a  Six Nations-winning England side on six occasions, including the  Grand Slam-winning sides of 1995 and 2003 and captained his country at the 1999 World Cup.   He also won eight caps for the Lions across three tours, and is the only player to have led them on two tours.   According to the new Tigers History Book, Johnson has the most wins from his first 300 games with 233, and his 225 league appearances is second to only Graham Rowntree.   He went on to become England manager from 2008 until after the 2011 World Cup, winning the 2011 Six Nations, the last time England landed the title.   J is for John Player Cup Tigers celebrated their centenary season with the third of their hat-trick of  John Player Cup successes, beating Gosforth 22-15 in the Final at Twickenham in May 1981.   Steve Kenney, Tim Barnwell and Dusty Hare were the Tigers try scorers with Hare landing two conversions and two penalties in front of 24,000 on a famous day at HQ.   And Tigers were able to keep the trophy, which now has a permanent home in the cabinet in reception of the MET-Rx Stand, after sponsors John Player offered it to any side good enough to win the Cup three times in a row.   The first of the three successes came against Moseley in 1979, 12 months after the heartache of losing to Gloucester in the Final.   Again scrum-half Kenney was on the scoresheet, his score five minutes from time, which was converted by Hare, proved decisive as Tigers came back from 12-9 down to win 15-12.   Hare was the key figure in terms of the scoring in the 1980 Final. The full-back kicked fourpenalties and a drop goal in a 21-9 victory over London Irish, and in doing so passed Harold Day’s 55-year-old club record of 1,151 points.   J is for Junior Tigers Club Leicester Tigers welcomed their 30,000th member of the Junior Tigers Club (JTC) when seven-year-old Jacob Milner from Cambridgeshire enrolled at the LV= Cup game with Northampton Saints earlier this year.   JTC is a free fan membership for under-16s and the place for young Tigers supporters to celebrate their love of all things Tigers.   Membership comes includes entrance to the JTC VIP Area on matchday with FREE, activities, games, player appearances and a visit from club mascot Welford, as well as the chance be a matchday mascot or one of Welford’s Tigers cubs   JTC members also receive a goodie bag with a VIP Wristband, Tigers flag, matchday programme, JTC Pencil, and a drawstring bag, plus the fortnightly JTC Splat enewsletter from Welford.   Members also have the chance to take part of the annual JTC Takeover Day at Welford Road and take on key roles behind the scenes on a Tigers matchday.   Click here for more on the Junior Tigers Club   J is for Jones Bleddyn Jones was voted in at fly-half in the Tigers Walk of Legends team by Leicester Mercury readers, but it’s as the voice of rugby on BBC Radio Leicester for which he is known among recent generations of supporters.   Jones walked into a Tigers training session in 1969 after moving to teach in the area and went on to make 333 appearances for the club.   He has since spent six years as a summariser and now more than 20 years as a commentator on Tigers matches home, away and overseas, and only retired from teaching in 2005.   Jones has been present at estimated 1,480 Tigers games as a player, summariser and commentator and has watched all of the club’s fixtures in Europe.   J is for Jez Followers of Leicester Tigers on Twitter, including @goatteeboy, @Oakhamskip, @RedLeics, @murrantp and @JBStamford, ensured that the letter J would not go without the inclusion of “drop goal king” Jez Harris.   After taking up rugby under the tutelage of Bleddyn Jones, Jeremy Harris, or Jez as he’s more commonly known, went on to make 225 first-team appearances.   He dropped a goal in the 1993 Pilkington Cup Final win over Harlequins at Twickenham and the following campaign kicked a club record 14 drop goals in a season. It’s a record he equalled in 1994/95 and still holds to this day.