A win in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership would be the perfect send off for Leicester Tigers legend Matt Smith, according to club captain Tom Youngs.
The hooker – who forged a formidable centre partnership with Smith during their development squad days before shifting to the front row – admitted that the veteran outside back has been the ‘heart and soul’ of the squad during a testing campaign.
The 33-year-old Smith will call time on his playing career following this weekend’s final fixture to take up the role of Tigers Academy head coach.
“The big thing I want to do is send someone like Matt Smith and a few other guys leaving on their way in a positive light,” Youngs said, when asked about the prospect of facing Bath Rugby this Saturday (May 18).
“Smithy’s undoubtedly the heart and soul of this club and has been for many years.
“He’s the glue that holds the squad together, because he is the person that you turn to in your hour of need.
“He will give his absolute all for the shirt and for his mates next to him, so I think it’s really important that we show it for him.”
“I don’t want to say [this season] is one to forget.”Tom Youngs
Tigers’ Round 22 clash against their traditional rivals will bring the curtain down on a rollercoaster nine months for the men in red, white and green.
But the club captain was adamant that the players, coaches and supporters must not overlook the season’s challenges in the years to come.
He continued: “I don’t want to say [this season] is one to forget.
“We want to learn from it, use it for motivation, and to make sure we don’t make the same mistakes as we have done.
“It’s the perfect time to hit that reset button and go again, and I can see [the Bath match] as being a real springboard.”
One constant during the campaign has been the fervent support of the #TigersFamily, both at home as well as on the road across Europe.
“The home crowd has been fantastic,” Youngs added. “We’ve still had more than 20,000 people at Welford Road week in, week out even when it hasn’t been going well.
“That support has been massive, and the boys thank [the fans] for that.”
With just one more chance to see the Tigers in action in 2018/19, secure your place from just £25 for adults and £10 for under-18s in person at Welford Road, by phone on 0116 319 8888 (option 2), or online using the link below.