Emotional goodbye for Tigers’ Lion

A former Lions tourist enjoyed an emotional weekend after officially saying goodbye to a ground that has been his spiritual home for more than a decade. [more]

Emotional goodbye for Tigers’ Lion

A former Lions tourist enjoyed an emotional weekend after officially saying goodbye to a ground that has been his spiritual home for more than a decade.

Lewis Moody, a Lion in 2005 and a try scorer during the series defeat to the All Blacks, ran out at Welford Road for the last time in Leicester’s Guinness Premiership semi-final win over Bath.

Having announced that he will join last Saturday’s opponents next season, Moody led the Tigers out to rapturous applause on what he admits was an emotional occasion.

"It was weird because I was trying not to think about it too much until the last game of the season. But it was emotional and I was trying to fight off a couple of tears," Moody told the Leicester Mercury.

"That is for the right reasons, though, and I have enjoyed a lot of rugby with a lot of great players and teams and this is just another one of those teams. 

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"I grew up watching Leicester here chanting ‘Deano, Deano’ and all those other well-thought-out songs we sing here!” added the flanker, referring to ex Tigers and Lions star Dean Richards. 

"My dream was to play for this club and I have been here since I was 14. Along with the likes of Sam Vesty, Brett Deacon and Ben Kay (who are all also leaving Leicester), I have been here for a long time.”

Moody has established himself as one of the game’s most committed performers during his time with Leicester and has understandably become a firm favourite at Welford Road.

The famous old stadium underwent dramatic rebuilding works last summer but the 31-year-old says it will always hold a special place in his heart. 

"This place is bizarre. It instills in you something about winning. You never think about losing and it has never been in my psyche. 

"This has never been a place that you can lose at and it has not really sunk in that I am leaving yet. I have enjoyed a lot of support from the fans for me and for the team and I have had some good battles here.”

Moody now turns his attentions to the Guinness Premiership Final a week on Saturday – a game that will be his very last in a Leicester shirt.

The Tigers take on Saracens at Twickenham in English rugby’s showpiece event just three weeks after losing their unbeaten home record to the same opponents and Moody is determined to end on a high. 

"We have one more game to go. When that is done and dusted, I will think about the emotions of it all a lot more. 

"We defended hard and did the basics well against Bath. We kept pushing and pushing and eventually it paid dividends. 

"The likes of Louis Deacon, Geoff Parling and Tom Croft have been great all year in the line-out and they excelled again. They were a huge asset and that was key. 

"We failed to score a try but it’s always down to a few points here and there in semi-finals and we edged it. 

"We will look forward to meeting Saracens in the final. Last week’s defeat by them means nothing. Finals are one-offs, it’s as simple as that."

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