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Tigers still playing the generation game

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There are a lot of things that add up to make our club a unique one, but the strength of its family ties must be right up there alongside the list of legendary names, the sustained successes, the level of expectation and the size of the fanbase.

Just a couple of weeks ago when Fred Tuilagi got off the bench in the second half of the Anglo-Welsh Cup win at Bath, he became the eighth member of the famous family to wear the Leicester Tigers shirt in the first-team game.

At the start of last season we rejoiced in seeing a Tigers team which featured the sons of four fathers who had played for the club (the lads being Matt Smith, Harry Thacker, Oliver Povoas and back-rower Tuilagi).
Both are remarkable stories of a remarkable club, and that’s before you throw in your share of Underwoods, Johnsons, Deacons and the rest over the last 130-odd years.
In January, the Tigers are hosting an event which must be unique in the world of professional sport as they bring together two generations of players at a special Beers With The Boys supporters’ night. The guests are Ben and Tom Youngs with their dad Nick, plus Matt Smith with his dad Ian, and Harry Thacker with dad Troy.
Between them, they total more than 1,000 appearances for the biggest rugby club in the country. That’s 1,000 first-team games between just three families over two generations! That is quite simply an astonishing stat.
The rugby played by Nick as scrum-half for Leicester and England, by ‘Dosser’ Smith as a hard-working back-rower in more than 330 appearances for the club and by hooker Troy, may have changed hugely in the intervening years, especially going from the amateur era to the professional game, but that family bond looks as strong as ever in the club.
Pride in the shirt is a massive concept for any Leicester player, but just imagine having the opportunity to pull on that shirt in succession to a father who achieved so much in it. Imagine the expectation of family and friends, or the pressure of following in the footsteps of a family member. Think, too, about the huge levels of encouragement from the sidelines of the supporters who so enjoyed seeing the previous generation representing their team.
It cannot be easy. But it must be massively rewarding.

That’s why The Tig has already booked a place for Beers With The Boys on January 17, and why there should be quite a queue to do likewise.

Beers With The Boys is at Welford Road on Tuesday, January 17. Tickets are available now, priced £20 including a pie and a pint. Book now at the Tigers ticket office, phone 0116 319 8888 (option 2) or book online. Perfect for a Christmas present for any fan in your Tigers family.