Tigers 1880

March 15, 2022

Meet a Tigers fan: Seven questions with Sam Radford

This is the first of what I intend to be a regular feature on this blog where a different Tigers fan answers the same set of seven questions. I hope it’ll provide a mix of informal and interesting insights and perspectives from those of us who love following Leicester Tigers.

I figured it was only fair that I go first. So here goes.

1. Who are you and how long have you been a Tigers fan?

I’m Sam Radford. I live in Sheffield with my wife, Rachel, and two daughters (Eloise, 13, and Imogen, 9). I work as a digital and technology manager for a government-funded educational programme. 

I’ve been a Tigers fan since I was 11 or 12. I grew up in Leicestershire and started playing rugby at Secondary school (alongside a certain Lewis Moody!). It was around that time I started to go to occasional games with my dad—often the Boxing Day matches against the Barbarians.

2. Tell us about the first time you watched Tigers at Welford Road—when was it, what do you remember?

My first trip to watch Tigers would have been around around 1990 I think. I organised a Scout trip to watch a game in order to earn a badge. It was Les Cusworth’s testimonial match and I have a vivid memory of him doing an American Football style throw, passing it straight from one side of the pitch to the winger on the other. It was a fun game for my first live Tigers experience!

3. Who is your current favourite Tigers player and why?

That’s a tough one! I’m a big Jasper Wiese fan. Same with Freddie Burns. But, since I have to choose one, I think I’d settle on Ellis Genge. He’s been such a great addition to Tigers these last few years and even when the going’s been tough, he’s always been rock solid and given his all. His personality and presence are incredible. He is going to be a big loss for Tigers when he leaves at the end of the season.

4. What are the biggest positives about the Tigers team at the moment—what’s going well?

I think the biggest positive is that we look like a team again! Prior to Borthwick becoming head coach, we went several years where we never seemed that together as a squad. I know winning helps. But it feels like there’s a depth to the relationships amongst the players now that’s a part of the foundation for our turnaround. We look like we have an actual plan nowadays too. Who knew that’d make such a difference?! 😉

5. What are some key areas for improvement for the Tigers team—what needs to get better?

As good as we’ve been this season, there’s no doubt we’re still a young side. Yes, there’s some older players Borthwick has wisely added to the mix, but there’s a lot of inexperience in the ranks too. And they’ve not yet been tested in the big, end-of-season, do or die games. Honestly, if we don’t win anything this season, it’ll still have been a huge positive, providing we keep learning and growing and using every experience to make sure we do go on to start winning things. Also, we need to cut out the 10 minutes most matches where we seem to completely switch off!

6. If you were picked to play for Tigers, what position would you like it to be in and why?

It’d have to be fly half. My moment of glory in my short school rugby playing career was playing fly half. We were playing our closest rivals and scored a try in the last minute to bring us to within one point of them. I had to kick the conversion for us to win. [Cue suspenseful music.] I kicked it… It hit the crossbar… It trickled along the crossbar… It dropped, just, over the crossbar… We won! I’d love to have a winning kick like that playing for Tigers. Well, maybe not the tricking along the cross bar part…

7. Who’s going to win on Friday and what is your predicted score?

It’s the Premiership Rugby Cup so this is going to be hard to predict. I imagine there’ll be lots of changes and some of the wider squad who haven’t played much will get game time. So we’re likely to be less cohesive. That said, they’re part of a well coached setup, so I still expect a strong performance and a win. Let’s say Newcastle 17 Tigers 32.

WANT TO TAKE PART?

If you’d be up for answering these seven questions and be the fan in one of these ‘Meet a Tigers fan’ posts, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a note: tigers1880@hey.com.