It is certainly an odd time to be a Leicester Tigers player at the moment, admits Dom Barrow, but he believes the success of Leicester’s footballers will only spur the side on to even greater heights.
This has been an historic week for the city of Leicester, with not only Leicester City FC winning an extraordinary league title against all odds – the first in their history – but also Mark Selby winning the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
And while Barrow has only been based in Leicester for a year since his move from Newcastle Falcons, the 23-year-old lock can tell the city is abuzz as a result of its sporting success.
An impressive 31-17 victory over Worcester Warriors last time out meant the Tigers guaranteed their spot in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals, and with one round of the regular season to go, Barrow admits he already cannot wait to feel the same support of the city behind them.
“Obviously it’s an awesome achievement by the Leicester City players and a big thing for the whole city,” he said.
“They were 5,000-1 to win so it is hugely inspirational for everyone associated with the city, and there is a great buzz around everywhere.
“We’re certainly hoping to make it a big double success. It would mean masses to the fans.
“Coming from Newcastle the fan base down here has really struck me, both in terms of the size of it and the passion of the fans – it’s one of the reasons you want to join a club like Leicester.
“Home and away the support is magnificent; to run out in front of 25,000 is just awesome and often there are more away fans then home ones when we travel.
“It would mean a lot to everyone down here for sure. I wouldn’t say there is any rivalry or bragging rights within the city between the football and rugby fans – it would be great for us both to succeed.”
First-half tries from Telusa Veainu, Vereniki Goneva, and Opeti Fonua paved the way against the Warriors at Welford Road, with Will Evans adding another score and Owen Williams firing well from the tee to ensure Leicester bounced back in style from their Champions Cup anguish.
And Barrow was impressed with the character of the Tigers to get on with the task at hand despite the frustration of their European exit – character he believes will serve them well in the weeks to come.
He added: “We had spoken in the week about the Worcester game being a potential banana skin against a good outfit.
“We’d come off the back of three very testing weeks against Stade Francais, Northampton and then Racing as well.
“They were tough weeks physically as well as emotionally and mentally, and as a title contender the game against Worcester was really important to take five points from.
“It would have been easy to take our eyes off the ball against them, but we knew they posed a threat and we are pleased to come out of the other side with a win – now we can look forward to the semi-finals.”
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