Leicester Tigers’ heavy derby defeat to Northampton Saints on Saturday has meant that the pressure is mounting on head coach Geordan Murphy.
Fans and pundits have pulled no punches in describing the 36-13 loss at Franklin’s Gardens, as it was one of the Tigers’ poorest performances ever against their rivals, even with the return of their England players.
With one win from five, the English giants now sit in eleventh place in the Gallagher Premiership, where they finished last season, but are only not bottom due to Saracens’ 35-point deduction. The reigning champions sit 22 points behind Murphy’s side, but they are tipped to chase that down, and may actually do it with ease.
As expected, there is a rift amongst fans as to what the future holds for the Irishman, as many feel that he has been given his chance with the Tigers, more than his predecessors, particularly Matt O’Connor.
On the other hand, there are those that back him to turn things around, but it has been stressed that things must change.
Former Tigers players and teammates of Murphy have recently come out to defend him as well, saying that he deserves to be given more time.
Leicester and England great Neil Back has conceded that former side have lost ground to their rivals at the top of the English game over the past few years, but still hopes Murphy is given the opportunity to turn things around.
Maybe but we’ve been losing ground on the teams that sit at the top table over the last 5 or 6 years…
We’ve not won Europe since 2002…
Let’s hope Geordan Murphy is given time to put us back on track…
— Neil Back MBE (@NeilBack) November 27, 2019
Likewise, Andy Goode has suggested that it is those above Murphy that have made the wrong decisions over the past few years in areas such as recruitment. That is understandable, as, while Leicester did have a busy summer in terms of bringing new players in, they still do not compare to some of the names that have joined their rivals in recent years. While the Tigers still boast some of the England team’s best players, they have failed to build upon that with other world-class players in recent years.
Said it before about @LeicesterTigers, it’s not Geordan Murphy who is the issue at the club. Yes he’s a good mate of mine but it’s the people above him who’ve made all the hiring and firing decisions/mistakes and the last 5 years recruitment & planning who are the problem…
— Andy Goode (@AndyGoode10) November 30, 2019
Murphy himself is a foreign player that was brought in to complement the core of English stars during Leicester’s halcyon days. The 72-cap Ireland international was a rock at the back for the Tigers over 15 years when they won multiple Premiership and European titles, and is perhaps an indication of the correct decisions that were being made at Welford Road.
While Murphy has won the backing of his former teammates, it will still take a while for him to win over many fans, who have seen their club descend from England’s biggest force to perennial relegation candidates.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.