Imposter Chuter ready to earn his medals

Leicester hooker George Chuter has revealed he felt like “an imposter” the last time he ended a season with three winner’s medals.

The Tigers are targeting a trophy treble with the Guinness Premiership Grand Final against Gloucester at Twickenham on Saturday followed by the Heineken Cup final showdown with Wasps eight days later.

Pat Howard’s team have already wrapped up the EDF Energy Cup and Chuter was at Welford Road the last time Tigers claimed three trophies in a season.

In 2000-01, Dean Richards’ team finished top of the Premiership, won the inaugural Grand Final at Twickenham and lifted the Heineken Cup in Paris.

Chuter collected winner’s medals for all three competitions after watching most of the drama unfold from the bench while Richard Cockerill and Dorian West battled it out to be the team’s first-choice hooker.

“I walked up there to collect those winner’s medals feeling like an impostor because I hadn’t played many games,” said the 30-year-old.

“I was part of the squad, but didn’t contribute much.

“It’s nice to be on the brink of getting more winner’s medals and knowing I’ve earned it.

“I will enjoy it a lot more this season if we win three trophies.”

Leicester’s win in the EDF Energy Cup final against Ospreys last month ended a five-year wait for silverware and Chuter knows the next two games present a chance for Tigers to start a new era of dominance.

Head coach Howard took the decision earlier this season to remove the photographs of Richards’ all-conquering heroes from the walls at the club’s Oval Park training ground.

Leicester won seven trophies in four years under Richards – including four successive Premiership titles and back-to-back Heineken Cups – and Chuter said: “Taking down those pictures was symbolic and shows we are trying to move on.

“We are trying to forget about the past and make a new history.

“We have been on the verge for the last two years. We’ve been in back-to-back Premiership finals and have done well in the Heineken Cup.”

The last two Premiership finals evoke bitter memories for Chuter – particularly the 2004-05 clash with Wasps.

Leicester were beaten 39-14 in Martin Johnson and Neil Back’s last game for the club having dished out a 45-10 hammering when the sides met at Welford Road two weeks earlier to finish top of the table.

Tigers were also beaten by Sale in last season’s Grand Final and Chuter said: “It’s terrible to lose in a final and losing to Wasps was worse than losing last year.

“We were consistently the best team that season and then just didn’t turn up for the final.

“That was a bitter pill to swallow and it always is when you lose a final.

“You work so hard and the people around you work so hard to get there and it’s a really empty feeling when you have nothing to show for it.”

Leicester have the chance to make amends for the disappointment of the last two seasons when they face Gloucester and Chuter denies the game is a clash of styles.

Cherry and Whites head coach Dean Ryan has suggested the game pits his side’s back-row flair against Leicester’s forward power and Chuter said: “I don’t see this game as being a contrast of styles.

“People say we’re one-dimensional, but if you check the stats, you will see we have scored more tries than anyone else in the league.

“I’m very proud. People think we have fantastic forwards and that we’re the best thing about this team, but our backs wouldn’t agree and I wouldn’t either.

“It’s well documented how physical our backs are. People like Alesana Tuilagi and Seru Rabeni are hard to tackle and fancy themselves in one-on-ones against most sides.

“I’m sure Gloucester think they can use their feet against us and it’s going to be a good match-up.”


365 Digital

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