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Tigers ABC to Z: S is for South Africa

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Today it is the turn of the letter S in our Tigers ABC to Z.S is for South Africa: The Springboks were the current World Champions, held the Southern Hemisphere’s Tri-Nations title and had secured a 2-1 series victory over the Lions in the summer when they arrived at Welford Road on a cold November evening in 2009.   The game officially marked the opening of the 10,000-seater North Stand, and Welford Road was packed to the rafters. It all looked to be going swimmingly for South Africa when Jongi Nokwe’s try, added to Ruan Pienaar’s penalty, gave them an early 8-0 lead.   But a sweeping try for full-back Lucas Amorosino, converted by scrum-half Ben Youngs, who also kicked three penalties saw Tigers take 16-11 lead into half-time.   Youngs extended the lead to 11 points with two more penalties before Pienaar landed two more of his own. It set up a nerve-wracking finale, but Tigers, who gave a debut to Australia international Lote Tuqiri, defended resolutely for a famous victory.   It was a special night that the 24,000 fans packed into Welford Road are unlikely to forget. Click here to watch it again.   S is for Stransky: Staying with a South African theme, Joel Stransky became the first Springbok and the first World Cup winner to play for Tigers.   His drop goal in extra time of the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final gave South Africa victory over New Zealand at Ellis Park.   After scoring 240 points in 22 internationals, he moved to Welford Road in 1997. He scored 23 tries in 73 appearances, scoring 896 points, which puts him 10th on the club’s all-time scoring chart.   He passed 100 points for the club in only his seventh start, a record, and his 459 points in the 1997/98 campaign is second only to Tim Stimpson.   S is for Smoke on the Water: The opening guitar riffs of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water, together with a big matchday crowd stamping their feet and clapping their hands, signal the Leicester Tigers team taking to the field at each home game at Welford Road.   According to the new Tigers History Book, it is a tradition that goes back to the 2000/01 season when the players felt they needed a tune to run out to.   The DJ of the day Ian Walker, or Dr Soul, introduced Smoke on the Water and the rest, as they say, is history!   Smoke on the Water has since been joined in the pre-match build-up by the opening bars of Eminem’s Lose Yourself, while victories at Welford Road are usually followed by I Gotta Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, Roar by Katy Perry and REM’s Shiny Happy People.   S is for Stimmo: Tim Stimpson will forever be remembered for landing two of the most important kicks in Leicester Tigers history.   The full-back kicked five penalties and two conversions in the 34-30 Heineken Cup Final win over Stade Francais in 2001, the second of those conversions with seconds remaining at the Parc des Princes took Tigers more than three points ahead of their opponents and the metronomic boot of Diego Dominguez.   The following year, Stimpson used upright and crossbar to land his 56-metre penalty and give Tigers a 13-12 win against Llanelli in the Heineken Cup semi-final en route to victory over Munster in the final. Click here to watch it again.   Capped 19 times by England and once by the Lions, Stimpson became the first player to pass 1,000 Premiership points and is the only player to win five successive Premiership titles, the first with Newcastle in 1998 and then four with the Tigers.   His 1,713 points put Stimpson fourth in Tigers’ scoring charts, he is the leading league scorer in the club’s history with 1,180 and his 486 points in 2000/01 is the most by a player in a single season.   S is for scrums: The scrum holds a unique place in the character and identity of the Leicester Tigers.   The pack prides itself on the set-piece and at the forefront of that is a long tradition of scrummaging forwards who have been taken to the hearts of the club’s supporters.   The noise around Welford Road when Tigers are looking to strike with an attacking scrum or defending their line on an opponents’ put-in is something to witness.   Indeed, the scrum laid the platform for the above victory against South Africa, turning over one Springbok scrum and taking penalties at two more.   And during the 2014/15 season alone, Dan Cole announced his return to fitness at a stunning scrum in the LV= Cup game against Sale and a sequence of set-pieces saw Northampton receive two yellow cards for repeated infringements.