Leeds Tykes were part of a historic world first dual code rugby partnership alongside sister club Leeds Rhinos that ran from 1998 to 2007. It was the first time that one business had owned both a professional Rugby League and Rugby Union club with the sides using joint training facilities at Kirkstall and playing out of Headingley Stadium.
The Tykes gained promotion to the top flight for the first time in 2001 from National Division One and established themselves as a force in the Premiership with a number of strong performances, including defeating Bath at Headingley in the first ever Premiership game at the stadium.
This was the highlight of the club’s history so far with Leeds Tykes enjoying success on and off the field. The first team twice qualified for the Heineken Cup, the first time thanks to a fifth place finish in the Premiership in the 2002-03 season and then in 2005-06 after winning the Powergen Cup at Twickenham.
The 2005 final is a day that will live long in the memory of Rugby Union fans in Yorkshire as South African international Andre Snyman and centre Chris Bell set Leeds on their way to victory over Bath at the home of English Rugby Union before Scottish international Gordon Ross made sure the Cup was heading back up the M1 with a man of the match performance.
Want to relive the match? Here it is.
The clubs academy was established during this period under the leadership of former player and future England boss Stuart Lancaster. A host of future stars would emerge of the years including the likes of Danny Care, Luther Burrell, Paul Hill, Jack Walker and Lewis Boyce. The clubs first ever England international was our first star graduate from the Academy, Tom Palmer, when the second rower was capped against the USA in 2001.
After five consecutive seasons in the top flight, Leeds were relegated in 2006 and Phil Davies long association as Director of Rugby came to an end. Stuart Lancaster took over and immediately plotted a return to the Premiership the following year which brought about a change of ownership once again.
During the period 1998-2007 156 players made their debuts for the club and 67 of these played full international rugby during their careers.
Leeds Tykes Player Debuts 1998-2007
156 players made their debuts for Leeds Tykes in the period 1st September 1998 to 30th April 2007.
67 of these played full international rugby during their careers (highlighted in yellow in the document below).