Leeds Tykes relegated
April 16, 2006

Leeds have been relegated from the Guinness Premiership, ending a five-season stay in English rugby's top flight.

The Tykes' demotion was confirmed by 11th-placed Newcastle beating league leaders Sale Sharks 32-21 at Kingston Park today.

It means a return to National League One for the Yorkshire club next term, swapping places with Harlequins.

And speculation will now intensify around their star players, especially former All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall, who has been linked with a move to Quins.

The Tykes could also lose their rugby director Phil Davies, who is believed to be in a head-to-head battle with Llanelli Scarlets boss Gareth Jenkins to succeed Mike Ruddock as Wales coach.

Leeds still have two league games left - against Gloucester and Newcastle - but their fate was arguably sealed by a miserable start to the campaign when they lost seven successive matches.

Davies' men were promoted to the Premiership in 2001 - less than 10 years after the club was formed - and during the last five seasons they secured Heineken Cup qualification and won the Powergen Cup.

LEEDS TYKES FACTFILE

1991

June - Leeds Rugby Football Union Club formed following amalgamation of Roundhay and Headingley clubs.

1992

September - Leeds play their first game, facing Hull Ionians.

1996

Welsh international forward Phil Davies joins Leeds as director of rugby, and the club move to Headingley, ending rugby union's 101-year absence from the stadium.

1998

July - Leeds become part of a ground-breaking rugby partnership as Leeds Rugby Limited encompasses the newly-named Leeds Tykes and Leeds Rhinos rugby league team.

1999

The Tykes finish sixth in National League One, but they make headline news by signing Australian rugby league star Wendell Sailor on a short-term contract and he scores 13 tries in 10 games.

2000

Leeds again fail in their quest for Premiership status, being pipped to promotion by their Yorkshire rivals Rotherham.

2001

April - Leeds promoted to the Premiership as League One champions just nine years after playing their first game.

June - lock Tom Palmer becomes Leeds' first England international when he appears as a substitute during tour game against the USA in San Francisco.

September - The Tykes make a stunning start to life in the top-flight, defeating Headingley visitors Bath 10-6.

2002

May - Leeds finish bottom of the league, but escape relegation because League One champions Rotherham's facilities fail to meet Premiership criteria.

2003

May - Leeds secure Heineken Cup qualification for the first time through a fifth-placed Premiership finish after a season when they won 12 league games, including victories over Leicester, Gloucester and Northampton.

November - Tykes hooker Mark Regan is part of England's World Cup-winning squad in Australia.

December - Leeds mark their Heineken Cup debut by recording a 29-20 victory over the Neath-Swansea Ospreys at Headingley.

2004

May - Leeds win just seven of their 22 Premiership games, but finish 34 points clear of relegated Rotherham.

2005

April - Leeds land their first major trophy when tries from Andre Snyman and Chris Bell help them record a 20-12 Powergen Cup final victory over Bath at Twickenham.

May - Leeds complete an escape from the drop by climbing off the Premiership basement through winning their final two games against Harlequins and Bath to secure an eighth-place finish.

September - Tykes kick off the new domestic season, buoyed by summer arrivals of All Blacks scrum-half Justin Marshall and Scotland hooker Gordon Bulloch.

November - Leeds prop up the Premiership, eight points adrift of Newcastle after losing their first seven league games.

2006

April - Leeds relegated from the Premiership with two games remaining after Newcastle beat leaders Sale Sharks at Kingston Park.

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