On this day in 2005 – Martin Johnson suffers disappointment in career finale

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.”

Rugby Union – Zurich Premiership Final – Wasps v Leicester – Twickenham
Thirteen unanswered points in the opening eight minutes blew Leicester away (David Davies/PA)

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.

Rugby Union – Zurich Premiership Final – Wasps v Leicester – Twickenham
Johnson finished his final season without silverware (David Davies/PA)

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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