Waking up as champions of England is a pretty special feeling.
This is the sweetest one out of the four winners’ medals I have picked up at Leicester during my seven years at the club.
Beating our local rivals 37-17 to do it was great. But also because there was a lot of pressure on us to win as favourites and, to have a medal around my neck after missing all of last season through injury, is an amazing feeling.
I had some dark days on the way back from that knee operation.
Wins like this make all that arduous rehab well worth the effort.
The first feeling I felt at the final whistle was relief. I had read the papers on the morning of the game and everyone was saying that we had to win after losing on our last two visits.
But when I looked in the guys’ eyes before kick-off, I had a feeling that we would simply not lose this game. It’s easy to say that, but you still have to go out and do it.
We didn’t play as well as we would have liked - but who cares. You do what you have to do to win a final.
It seems that the fact that we won by 20 points has been lost. Not many teams win finals by 20 points, especially not against a team as good as Northampton.
I also genuinely believe we would have come through had Dylan Hartley not been sent off. We have proved time and time again that we are the fittest team in the Premiership.
We showed that against Quins in the semi-final to weather a storm, defend well and then turn it on after the break.
Saturday would have been no different and, don’t forget that we were winning 16-5 when he got his red card. That’s a big lead in a final.
I cracked open a can of Stella when we got off the pitch, which was warm by the time I had finished my press commitments.
Luckily, there was a big celebration in the changing room afterwards. It’s an amazing feeling to celebrate a win like that with such a close-knit group of blokes.
I am pleased for our supporters who made a right racket at Twickenham.
And I’m really pleased that we could give Geordan Murphy, Martin Castrogiovanni, Matt O’Connor and the other lads that are leaving us, the ideal send-off.
Now it’s time for a rest.
Well...I say rest...but I am on my stag do next week. I doubt that will be a quiet few days with a book and a shandy!
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