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Tigers ABC to Z: M is for Matthews, Moody & Murphy

The Tigers ABC to Z series completes the first half of the alphabet with this selection for the letter 'M'.M is for Moody - and Mad Dog    Famed for his total disregard for his own well-being on the field (hence the 'Mad Dog' nickname) and with a blond mane which stood out in the thick of the action, all-action flanker Lewis Moody came from Oakham School to make his Tigers debut as an 18-year-old in 1996 at the dawn of the most successful era in the club’s history. He went on to share in European and domestic success in more than 200 club appearances, gained 71 England caps, won a World Cup, captained his country, played in three Tests for the Lions in New Zealand and bounced back from numerous injury setbacks before finally closing his career with a short spell at Bath.   M is for Martin Martins Johnson, Corry and Castrogiovanni are all iconic Leicester forwards from the modern era, but their lineage can be traced back to a forward-thinking Kiwi, Colin Martin, who made 272 appearances in the decade from 1956 and proved influential on and off the field at Welford Road. As well as inspiring players around him, including David Matthews, he provided the “fresh cultural approach to Leicester” according to the club’s new History Book, with the harder edge of a man brought up in New Zealand rugby, tactical acumen and belief in the concept of coach as well as captain, preparing the way for Chalke White’s rise and the modern era.   M is for Matchday experience Welford Road is an iconic home of rugby, a famous name known throughout the world. Whether you are among the supporters who queue for places on the terrace, share the history of the wooden benches or enjoy the comfort of more modern stands, everyone has their favourite matchday spot and routines. Tigers remain the best-supported club in UK rugby, with season ticket holders joined by matchday visitors, families, group bookings, touring clubs, school parties and many more rugby fans to make ours the best matchday experience possible. If you’re missing Welford Road this summer, click here to whet your appetite for another big season on home turf. We look forward to seeing you soon!   M is for David Matthews The “heart and soul of Leicester Tigers”, as chairman Peter Tom describes him, Matthews set a club record of 502 first-team appearances which will never be surpassed. When you realise that he played only a handful of games in his first two seasons after captaining Oakham School, it makes his achievement even more remarkable. The only man in club history to become an ever-present in three separate seasons, his list of achievements is a lengthy one, including club records for tries in a season for a forward and, after taking over kicking duties, he was also top points scorer in 1967/68. His 100th try came at Bristol in 1969 and his 500th game in 1974. Matthews also clocked up a County appearances record and played for the Barbarians. After serving as captain and coach, he became a Tigers director and life member, a genuine all-time Leicester legend.   Midland Cup The Midland Counties Rugby Union is older than Tigers and it took the club a while to make an impression on their knockout cup, failing to get past the second round in the first five attempts. But then, after four semi-finals and three lost finals, Leicester picked up their first-ever silverware with the defeat of Moseley in the 1897/98 final and went on to win it again for the next seven years. The Midland Cup was won on a total of 11 times, finally in 1912/13.   M is for Manu From chopping down superstar Carlos Spencer in the Classis All Blacks match to his breakthrough senior season in 2010/11, through to the England and Lions caps as one of the biggest names in the world game, Tigers supporters have watched Manu Tuilagi grow in the spotlight at Welford Road and count the days for his return to action.   M is for Geordan Murphy A modern great of the game, Geordan Murphy joined Leicester after just one season in Irish senior rugby at Naas and became the most decorated player in the country. He ended his 16th season with Leicester in 2012/13 by celebrating the eighth Premiership title of his career and announced he would be moving into coaching at the club. Murphy made 322 appearances for the club, scoring 93 tries and 691 points, as well as playing 72 Tests for Ireland and seven times (including Tests against Argentina and New Zealand) with the Lions. He made his Tigers debut against Rotherham in November 1997 and played his last game in May 2013, leading the team in the Premiership win over London Irish. In between there were four European Cup Finals and a record seven Premiership Finals. He is Leicester’s leading try-scorer and appearance holder in European rugby and 17th on the club’s all-time scorers’ chart.