Our look at the teams in Pool B of the 2022-23 Heineken Champions Cup continues with a profile of two-time winners Leicester Tigers.
Heineken Champions Cup record
Leicester won EPCR’s leading competition in 2001 and 2002, defeating Stade Français Paris 34-30 at Paris’ Parc des Princes in the former final and Munster Rugby 15-9 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in the latter. They have also finished runners up on three occasions – 1997, 2007 and 2009.
Despite finishing top of Pool B after winning all four of their games, Leicester could only make it as far as the quarter-finals in the proceeding knockout rounds.
They eased past ASM Clermont Auvergne 56-27 on aggregate in the round of 16, but eventual finalists Leinster then overpowered them 23-14 at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
Steve Borthwick has been in the role since 2020 and led Leicester to their first English title in almost a decade last season.
The 43-year-old former England lock, who skippered Bath Rugby to the EPCR Challenge Cup in 2008 in one of his 95 EPCR appearances, arrived at Welford Road after five seasons as forwards coach with England.
Previously, he had occupied the same position with Bristol Rugby and been an assistant coach with Japan under Eddie Jones at the 2015 World Cup.
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Leicester’s squad is brimming with internationals, both English and foreign.
In the forwards there are youngsters like 22-year-old lock Ollie Chessum, who made his first appearance for England in this year’s Six Nations, and prop Joe Heyes, who has already made 22 appearances for Leicester in EPCR competitions aged 23.
At the other end of the scale are 35-year-old prop Dan Cole, who made the last of his 95 England appearances in 2019 and has amassed 67 EPCR games in 14 seasons, 78-cap Argentina hooker Julián Montoya and South Africa No.8 Jasper Wiese.
The Leicester backs also boast a similarly diverse cohort of past and present English internationals, especially at scrum-half, where 39-year-old Richard Wigglesworth still going strong, while 21-year-old Jack van Poortvliet is battling Ben Youngs, England’s most-capped scrum-half, for the No.9 jersey at club and international level.
Wings Chris Ashton and Anthony Watson, along with full-back Freddie Steward offer further English international experience, while Scotland’s Matt Scott and Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo provide a physical presence at centre and on the wing respectively.
Watson was one of several new signings this season. Others include US international Joe Taufeteʻe, who provides an option at both hooker and prop, South Africa fly-half Handré Pollard, who arrived from Montpellier Hérault Rugby, and Ireland prop James Cronin, who moved from Biarritz Olympique.
Leicester open their Pool B matches at Ospreys on December 11 and finish their pool stage at home to the Welsh side on January 20.
Sandwiched in between are home and away matches against Clermont, the first at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on December 17 before a trip to France on January 13.