- Date of Birth9 Mar 1970
- BirthplaceSolihull, Warwickshire
Martin Johnson is a rugby icon after collecting every major honour in the game, lifting most of them as captain of club and country.
From the Tigers youth team, Johnson had a spell with King Country in New Zealand and was capped by the All Blacks at Under-21s level before returning to England, combining his work as a bank management trainee with his rugby career in the closing stages of the amateur era.
He made his Tigers debut in 1989 and quickly earned a reputation as a fearless competitor in the second row and an inspirational leader.
Universally known as ‘Johnno’ he captained Tigers 1997-2005, leading the team to a Cup Final victory in 1997, the historic run of four successive Premiership titles from 1999-2002 and back-to-back wins in Europe’s Heineken Cup in 2001 and 2002 in a dominant era built on the club’s relentless forward pack.
After making the first of 84 Test appearances for England in 1993, Johnson played in 10 Home Nations Championships, winning five, before leading the national team to their greatest moment with victory in the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia.
His first tour with the British & Irish Lions came in 1993 and he became the first man to be named captain in two series, in 1997 (winning 2-1 in South Africa) and again in 2001.
Made a CBE after the World Cup triumph, Johnson entered the International Rugby Board Hall of Fame and retired in 2005 after 361 games for Tigers, giving him 13th place on the club’s all-time list. His absence from the sport was not a long one as he became a Tigers life member and became England team manager 2008-11.