Having topped the table throughout the 2021-2022 season, Leicester Tigers executed a dramatic last-minute drop-goal on Saturday to secure their 11th Premiership title, in a tense 15-12 win over rivals Saracens.
It was the Tigers’ first title triumph in nine years and one that brought glory to the East Midlands club, elation to its thousands of travelling fans and a fitting end to a hugely competitive season that has seen more teams than ever separated by the fewest number of points as the battle for semi-finals approached.
It was also the first Gallagher Premiership Final since 2019 free of significant restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and able to return to the roar of a capacity crowd, creating an occasion for celebration, for community and for coming together.
As our Chairman, President and CEO Pat Gallagher said on welcoming fans to this weekend’s Final:
“You are the lifeblood of rugby, and it is no surprise that your return to stadiums up and down the country has coincided with one of the most hotly contested seasons ever. No matter the challenges we face, you can count on the rugby community to rally around their teams. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in this stadium today, we can all appreciate how much stronger we are when we are part of a community.”
He continued: “Even when you’re at the very top of your game, it’s the people you trust who will make you better. This is just as true in life as it is in rugby.”
That’s why this season we launched the Gallagher Leaders Trust – a mentoring network for the directors, head coaches and others tasked with delivering exceptional performance across the 13 clubs in the Gallagher Premiership. Away from the rugby pitch, the wider campaign is taking the issue of effective leadership and performance excellence to the wider UK business community, centred on the importance of surrounding yourself – whether in a boardroom or on the rugby pitch – with a team of trusted advisers. Because it is that team’s objective counsel across diverse areas of specialism that will enable every leader, and thus every organisation, to perform at their best.
Partnership was also the central theme of Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Simon Massie-Taylor as the exceptional 2021-2022 season reached its climax: “Rugby is the ultimate team sport and we would not be here today if it wasn’t for all our partners in the game, especially our title partner Gallagher. As an organisation, Gallagher has embraced this partnership magnificently. They really want to make a difference in rugby and we are thrilled to be entering into our second partnership term with them next season.
“Our vision for Gallagher Premiership Rugby is to be the beating heart of the English game and for the final to be a national sporting moment. Our hearts were certainly beating hard at our Final, along with the hundreds of thousands of fans watching at home, as we prepared to watch the best two teams in the country go head-to-head after one of the most competitive and exciting seasons ever.”
Trust and teamwork have also been the central threads running through Gallagher’s engagement with the wider rugby community this year – with new milestones surpassed in the award-winning Project Rugby programme and a massive 750-mile 7-day charity cycle challenge undertaken to carry the Gallagher Premiership trophy into Twickenham Stadium in time for the champions to lift it aloft.
Led by ex Scotland and England internationals Nathan Hines and Jack Clifford, who are now part of Team Gallagher, our core group of former professional rugby player riders cycled all the way from Newcastle to the home of England Rugby via Exeter and nearly every Gallagher Premiership club. Their fantastic ‘Road to Twickenham’ effort, joined by colleagues and partners along the way, was made in a bid to raise at least £30,000 for Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby, with fundraising efforts well on track to beat that target.
Despite the huge challenges of the last two years, teamwork also won out once again in the flagship community programme Project Rugby, as we enrolled our 75,000th young person in the scheme – an incredible milestone with community coaches having done an extraordinary job in extraordinary times.
All 13 Gallagher Premiership Rugby clubs work tirelessly across more than 200 locations to increase participation in the game by young people who might otherwise never have picked up a rugby ball.
And Charlie Scott, Chief Financial Officer for Gallagher across EMEA and a Project Rugby volunteer sums up what this means: “For everyone at Gallagher, hearing the many individual, often life-changing stories about the difference the programme delivers to young people in terms of life skills, confidence and capabilities – as well as seeing thousands transition into community clubs – makes us hugely proud to be a part of Project Rugby.”