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OTD: Former England skipper Martin Johnson suffers disappointment

Leicester Tigers Captain Martin Johnson reaches for the ball during the match against London Wasps in the Zurich Premiership Final match at Twickenham in London 14 May 2005. Wasps won the game 39-14 to win the Premiership title. Johnson was playing his last match for the team and is to retire from rugby. AFP PHOTO ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Martin Johnson suffered disappointment in the final match of his illustrious career on this day in 2005 as Leicester were brushed aside by arch-rivals Wasps in the Premiership final.


Wasps ruined the England World Cup-winning captain’s big day out in front of a 66,000 crowd at Twickenham as Johnson’s final game in a Tigers shirt before retirement – and 500th career start – ended with an emphatic 39-14 defeat.

Johnson said: “I’m very disappointed, not because it’s my last game but because we didn’t do it today. We haven’t played and it’s a nasty feeling.”

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Leicester never recovered from a scintillating Wasps opening that saw them race into a 13-0 lead inside eight minutes, with former England stars Joe Worsley, Josh Lewsey and Simon Shaw producing towering displays to help their side claim a third successive Premiership title.

Wasps skipper Lawrence Dallaglio was not far behind in the work-rate stakes either, as his team underlined their mastery of English rugby’s play-off system to land another championship crown after once again finishing second – behind Leicester -during the regular 22-game league campaign.

Johnson, arguably the greatest English rugby player of all time, was reduced to a mere mortal on an afternoon when Tigers finished a distant second-best.

Neil Back, Johnson’s erstwhile colleague for club and country, also experienced a miserable send-off, as did Leicester coach John Wells.


But Wasps supremo Warren Gatland said goodbye in style before returning home to New Zealand and a coaching job with the Waikato Chiefs.

After such a blistering start, Wasps never looked back, securing the title through 26 points from full-back Mark van Gisbergen, including a try, as well as touchdowns from Tom Voyce and Rob Hoadley, plus an Alex King drop-goal.

Leicester could only manage a Scott Bemand consolation try and three Andy Goode penalties in reply, leaving 35-year-old Johnson and company without silverware.



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Tim 5 hours ago
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