Tom Croft praises Leicester who have six players in the Lions squad

Last Updated: 01/05/13 9:32am

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Tom Croft in action for Leicester

Tom Croft in action for Leicester

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Leicester flanker Tom Croft has paid tribute to the Tigers after six players from the club were named in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour Australia.

Croft will be joined in the 37-man party by Geoff Parling, Manu Tuilagi, Dan Cole, Ben Youngs and Tom Youngs in a strong Welford Road contingent.

Croft said: "Cockers (director of rugby Richard Cockerill) pulled myself and the others across and politely shook our hand.

"It's a testament to the club and how it deals with its players, coming back from injury, changing position and coming through the Academy system and they expose the players when they're ready. All six of us owe a great deal to Leicester Tigers.

"One of the most important things about a Lions tour is the history that is there."

Tuilagi said: "To have six from Leicester Tigers in the squad is unreal. To have the guys you play with week in and week out is fantastic but when we all come together we are all one.

"Going on tour with the Lions and knowing you have the opportunity to, hopefully, play alongside some of the great players is a huge honour."

Ben Youngs said: "For Tigers to have six players in the squad is great and it is a credit to the Academy here that five of the squad came through there.

"It's a testament to the club and how it deals with its players, coming back from injury, changing position and coming through the Academy system and they expose the players when they're ready. All six of us owe a great deal to Leicester Tigers."
Tom Croft

"I've had some proud moments in my rugby career already but this is definitely the proudest."

Cole said: "There are six of us who have been selected and that's great for us six but there's another 40 guys at Tigers who haven't been and their goal for the season is to win the Aviva Premiership, as is ours, and that's what comes first.

"You have to park those emotions for a month, hopefully three more games, and target the Aviva Premiership."

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