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Geordan going for final trophy with Tigers

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Leicester Tigers' Geordan Murphy. Picture credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Leicester Tigers' Geordan Murphy. Picture credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Leicester Tigers' Geordan Murphy. Picture credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

LEICESTER captain and former Ireland full-back Geordan Murphy will line out for the Tigers for the last time in tomorrow's English rugby Premiership final at Twickenham.

Murphy, a veteran of the first Premier League play-off in 2001 and a 16-year-servant of Leicester, will retire from playing after the final to join the club's coaching staff.

Prop Martin Castrogiovanni is also leaving after seven crowd-pleasing years, centre Danny Hipkiss has been forced to retire through injury, assistant coach Matt O'Connor is heading to Leinster and a number of other squad players are leaving. It will be an emotional day for many involved with England's most dominant club, seen by many as the end of an era.

Leicester will run out at Twickenham for a remarkable ninth successive time, when midlands rivals Northampton will attempt to prevent them finishing as champions for a record 10th time.

There is also a sense of frustration after Leicester have lost five of those previous eight finals, including the last two. Northampton will be hoping to extend that streak. After finishing fourth in the regular season standings, they beat table-topping Saracens in the semi-final and are seeking their first title.

The game will also give hooker Dylan Hartley a chance to prove he is not on the British and Irish Lions tour just to make up the numbers when he leads Northampton out.

Selected

The Saints captain was selected as one of three hookers by Warren Gatland and he will lock horns with his Leicester, England and Lions rival Tom Youngs.

Hartley lost his England starting place to Youngs this season – but he is not prepared to be written off as anybody's understudy before the Lions even leave for Australia. "I think a few people think I am in the Lions squad to cover the third hooker place (behind Youngs and Richard Hibbard)," Hartley said.

"I see this weekend as a chance to push myself forward.

"I am going there to win a trophy for the club but it is an opportunity to play well and put my hand up.

"With rugby you understand that injuries happen and selections don't always go your way but you have to bide your time.

"Like Arnie said 'I'll be back'. I am not done. Everyone has their time in the sun and I am here for the long game."


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