George Ford and Dan Cole battle to lift burden of tradition off Leicester

Former champions need to move with the times or the nightmare of Premiership relegation could become a reality

Every great sporting dynasty hits the buffers at some stage. Brazil football, Wigan rugby league, Australia cricket: a glorious past does not indefinitely protect against awkward modern reality. Leicester, currently putting the “rut” into Rutland, are not the first top team to discover life at the bottom is significantly more stressful.

With five Premiership games to play, they are five points off the foot of the table, with relegation a lurking possibility if their next two games against the leaders, Exeter, and fellow strugglers Newcastle end in defeat. Should a team coached by the former Leicester legend Dean Richards nudge them into the Championship it would be the ultimate east-Midlands nightmare.

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