Leicester duo tipped for England

Former England hero Dean Richards has backed unheralded Leicester flanker Tom Croft as a potential Test star. [more]

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Former England hero Dean Richards has backed unheralded Leicester flanker Tom Croft as a potential Test star.

Croft, the latest in a long line of quality back-row forwards to roll off Tigers’ production line, scored two tries as Leicester smashed Richards’ Harlequins 42-13 at the Twickenham Stoop.

Another Leicester player with England ambitions, wing Tom Varndell, eclipsed Croft’s scoring exploits, claiming a hat-trick as Tigers moved third in the Guinness Premiership.

England head coach Brian Ashton names a 32-man squad for the RBS 6 Nations Championship on Wednesday – and Richards believes 22-year-old Croft could have a long international future ahead.

Ex-England number eight Richards said: "He is an outstanding talent.

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"I think he is a really good player – he has everything.

"He might lack a little experience, but you could throw him into the England team and I don’t think it would hurt the England team at all."

Leicester head coach Marcelo Loffreda was equally impressed with Varndell and added: "Tom was very good. He has everything he needs to be a top player in his position.

"He is really working very hard to build his consistency and his concentration, and he is getting better and better. That is what we are focusing on giving him at the club.

"Concentration in the international arena is the main thing. You can have the talent, but if you are not focused in practice and in the preparation, you will not perform well."

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