Croft talks Lions form

Tom Croft says he's keen to surpass his success on the 2009 Lions tour sooner rather than later. [more]

Croft talks Lions form

Tom Croft says he’s keen to surpass his success on the 2009 Lions tour sooner rather than later.

The Leicester back rower missed out initial selection for Britain and Ireland’s elite three years ago but was called up pre-tour as a result of Alan Quinlan’s lengthy suspension.

Croft went on to excel on the biggest stage of all as he won three Lions Test caps and scored a brace of tries in the first international against the Springboks.

The 26-year-old is now one of the senior figures in Stuart Lancaster’s new-look England side but he has struggled to hit the heights of his Lions adventure since returning from South Africa as one of the globe’s brightest stars.

Lancaster has talked publicly of his hopes that Croft will produce ‘Lions-esque’ performances in a white shirt during the 6 Nations and the man himself admits that matching that form, and then improving on it, is his ultimate goal.

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"It's nice to be spoken about with the Lions. When people talk about that, it doesn't annoy me but I explain that I'm trying to be better than that," said Croft, who starts on the blindside flank when England take on Wales this Saturday.

"I was very happy with the way that Lions tour went but it's not just about trying to recreate that, for me it's about moving on from that."

Croft excelled on the hard grounds of South Africa under Sir Ian McGeechan and co, with his rampaging ball-carrying exploits earning him plenty of praise from coaches and colleagues alike.

He has also become known for his excellent attributes in the lineout but the former England youth lock insists he is working hard to become a more rounded player ahead of the next Lions adventure in 2013.

"I think it’s impossible to recreate that Lions form exactly. So I have to bring the best of that into my game, as well as everything else I am doing," added Croft.

"I can't just end up being a one-dimensional player. I need to be getting round the corner in that carrying role, but also trying to integrate that into other parts – getting out into the wider channels, but also being as involved as possible at close quarters.

"I never come off the field feeling completely satisfied. In the last couple of games I've come off thinking that I could have got my hands on the ball more. That's not about the structure, I have to make sure I am getting in the right positions to get my hands on the ball."

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