Fixtures - Top Bar

Harry Thacker relishing Leicester Tigers’ season climax

HarryThackerSaiTig1005SB1516

Leicester Tigers hooker Harry Thacker is relishing his side’s grandstand finish to the season as they prepare to face Racing 92 in Sunday’s European Rugby Champion’s Cup semi-final.

Thacker scored a breakaway try for Tigers in their vital East Midlands derby victory over Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens last weekend and will line up in an unchanged XV against Racing at Nottingham’s City Ground.

The 22-year-old has been one of the standout players in Richard Cockerill’s Tigers side in recent weeks and has made ten starts in all competitions this season, with a further ten appearances coming from the bench.

Sunday will only be the young forward’s second start in Europe but Thacker is not daunted by the challenge.

"It is all new for me but with the players we have at the club then you couldn't ask for any better experience around you,” he said.

"It is another step up emotionally and physically. These are the games that the top players come here to play in.

"When you are playing you are only really thinking about that week so it isn't as bad as you would have thought.

“It does take its toll emotionally but the players are able to step it up, re-focus and go again.”

Tigers go into the game on the back of three big wins against Gloucester Rugby, Stade Francais and Saints.

Racing visit the East Midlands sitting in fourth place in the Top 14 but having lost 14-3 to Toulouse last weekend after dispatching French rivals Toulon in a tight and tense Champions Cup quarter-final the week before.

All Black legend Dan Carter starts at fly-half for the visitors but Thacker said Aviva Premiership Rugby’s Tigers will focus on more than just stopping the World Cup-winning Kiwi hero.

"Racing have got some experienced players," he said.

"They have a heavy pack and we know that we have got a challenge. But we are looking forward to it.

“They will want to push this week so we are excited about that and having a battle with them.

"It all starts up front with the set piece battle. That will be it for me, bringing it physically."

Former Ireland and Munster fly-half Ronan O’Gara will be on the sideline for Sunday’s game and ahead of the match the Racing coach compared Carter – who has missed just one place kick from 20 this European campaign – to football great Lionel Messi.

“Dan has contributed a lot but there were building blocks in place even before he arrived," said O'Gara.

“I suppose you have Messi and Ronaldo in the soccer and there's Carter in rugby world. But it's very hard to compare them.

"His ability with or without ball gives us presence, leadership and control.

“But for us it is not based upon one pair of shoulders alone, we have others like Johan Goosen who have done a job there. Other players can fare as well. But he has extraordinary ability.”

Latest News

Denny Solomona stars in remarklable Aviva Premiership Rugby weekend

The weekend’s remarkable action saw a number of Aviva Premiership Rugby records tumble, with Sale Sharks wing Denny Solomona leading…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

RFU Disciplinary: Steve Diamond

Steve Diamond of Sale Sharks will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Exeter Chiefs’ Thomas Waldrom eyeing trophy charge

Exeter Chiefs No. 8 Thomas Waldrom insists his sights are firmly set on bringing silverware back to Sandy Park this…

Exeter Chiefs' Thomas Waldrom believes his side are well placed to target silverware this season

Aviva Premiership Rugby Weekend Round-up

Steve Diamond heaped praise on his home-grown Sale Sharks squad after they ran in four tries to claim a bonus-point…

Sam James, 22, was starting his 13th Aviva Premiership Rugby game of the season.

Bath Rugby set to bring the entertainment on and off the pitch at Twickenham Stadium for ‘The Clash’

Bath Rugby have announced that The Clash, one of the biggest domestic sporting events of 2017, will see an incredible…

Bath Rugby with the Wurzels

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 34 Wasps 28

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond heaped praise on history-maker Denny Solomona as his hat-trick laid the foundations for…

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 46 Northampton Saints 31

Sonatane Takulua scored a hat-trick as Newcastle Falcons staged a roaring second-half comeback to defeat Northampton Saints in a pulsating Aviva…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Match Report: Sale Sharks 34 Wasps 28

Denny Solomona delivered one of the best individual displays ever seen at the AJ Bell Stadium as his hat-trick helped…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Under 18s Academy Finals Day – Reaction: Reffell delight at Saracens progress

Sean Reffell is confident Saracens Academy U18s have improved beyond recognition despite being beaten 36-26 by Worcester Warriors at the…

700001073_tm_7171_d6698f691e8f9dc1b10b6f49ee601ffe.jpg

Under 18s Academy Finals Day – Reaction: Rigby and Warriors gave everything

Young prop Nick Rigby admitted he could not have asked for anything more after finishing the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 50 Bristol Rugby 17

Aaron Mauger has backed his Leicester Tigers side to make the top four and qualify for the Aviva Premiership Rugby…

Telusa Veainu scored a brilliant first-half try on his return to Leicester Tigers colours

Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 22 Harlequins 12

Bath Rugby director of rugby Todd Blackadder admits his side were not at their best but was still delighted to…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 32 Exeter Chiefs 48

Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter praised the lightning speed of hat-trick hero James Short as his side ran in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library