TWO pubs celebrating Leigh's past and present in rugby league have experienced a huge boost following the club's rebrand and return to the Super League. 

Following the controversial decision to rebrand Leigh Centurions into the Leigh Leopards prior to their Super League return, the former Britannia pub on St Helens Road followed suit and transformed into the newly-named Leopards Den.

As the Centurion pub, a few doors down on St Helens Road, was previously the main rugby-themed pub in Leigh, there was initial talk that this would be the venue to undergo a Leopard-themed revamp.

However, with well-known Leyther Dave Rowland the owner of both pubs, he settled on the Britannia getting the £5k makeover to mark the new Leopard era, while the Centurion will remain as a venue to acknowledge the club's history.

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Leigh Journal: The Centurion pub has been a rugby-themed pub for more than a decadeThe Centurion pub has been a rugby-themed pub for more than a decade (Image: Leigh Journal)

Dave, 69, said: "The Centurion has been like this since Leigh moved to the Sports Village [in 2008] and has all the old memorabilia, so there would have been uproar if this one rebranded.

"It's been great because all the old-fashioned fans come in here with their Centurions tops on, and most of the newer and younger fans go into the Leopards Den."

With Leigh hosting Salford Red Devils on their first Super League game of the campaign, complete with live entertainment and a performance from Scouting For Girls, Dave said that both pubs felt a huge boost in custom before and after the defeat.

The night even included Leopards rugby players and chairman Derek Beaumont making an appearance after the game, who were happy to speak to fans and celebrate the club's Super League return in the rugby-themed boozers.

Leigh Journal: The Leopards Den, a few doors down on St Helens RoadThe Leopards Den, a few doors down on St Helens Road (Image: Leigh Journal)

Dave added: "Both pubs were absolutely heaving before the [Salford] game.

"It was shoulder to shoulder and there was huge interest in the Leopards Den, which wasn't known as a rugby pub [until this season].

"Everyone was buzzing and the players were unbelievable with fans once they turned up after the game, signing everything and taking selfies.

"Beaumont even came in for the first time and he was happy to chat with all the fans."

Leigh Journal: The Centurion is heavily decorated with Leigh memorabilia The Centurion is heavily decorated with Leigh memorabilia (Image: Leigh Journal)

With the Centurion, and now the Leopards Den, popular stop-off points on the way to the Sports Village, Dave said that the pubs also feel the benefit of away fixtures as they are used as pick-up locations for travelling fans.

As the Leopard's Super League return has created a buzz around town, Dave, who owns multiple businesses across Leigh, said that he finally feels like Leigh is starting to "get back on its feet" following the difficulties of the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

Leigh Journal: Inside the newly-decorated Leopards DenInside the newly-decorated Leopards Den (Image: Leigh Journal)

Proud to have kept all his staff members on and prices low during the crises, Dave said that he hopes that the added enthusiasm can continue throughout the Super League season.

The Leopards take on Super League and World Club Challenge Champions St Helens at the Sports Village tomorrow night.