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

Match Report: Leicester Tigers 19 Northampton Saints 11

Heroic defensive efforts from both sides meant the boot was king in the second half at Welford Road and a…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Report: Gloucester Rugby 26 Bristol Rugby 18

Gloucester Rugby racked up four second-half tries to come from behind and beat local rivals Bristol Rugby at Kingsholm. The…

willheinzgloubris1111sb16

Match Report: Bath Rugby 14 Saracens 11

Bath Rugby made their first-half dominance count at the Rec but only just as a dogged Saracens fell to defeat…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 3 Exeter Chiefs 21

Rob Baxter hailed Exeter Chiefs' defensive display after they earned a third Aviva Premiership Rugby win in a row with…

DM1_7730

Match Report: Sale Sharks 3 Exeter Chiefs 21

Three first-half tries saw Exeter Chiefs move into the top four of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table after a scrappy…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Born-and-bred Worcester Warrior Jonny Arr up for jersey fight

Jonny Arr is on the brink of bringing up his 100th Aviva Premiership Rugby appearance for Worcester Warriors – but…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

100th Harlequins appearance ‘would be special’, says hooker Dave Ward

Harlequins hooker Dave Ward has said it would be “something special” if he made his 100th appearance for the club on…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Saints team named for derby day

The Northampton Saints team has been announced for Saturday’s East Midlands derby with Leicester. Ben Foden will lead the side…

JJ Hanrahan

Wasps team for Worcester Warriors

Dai Young has named his side to make the short trip to Sixways this Sunday, to take on Worcester Warriors…

Wasps

Internationals return for Bath Rugby

Five of Bath Rugby’s international contingent have returned to the starting line-up for their Aviva Premiership match-up with Saracens tomorrow…

Taulupe Faletau

Leicester Tigers team news for Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 10

Logovi'i Mulipola and JP Pietersen return from international duty to join the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's East Midlands derby…

Kitto

Saracens name team to face Bath

Saracens have named their team to face Bath at the Recreational Ground for Saturday’s round ten Aviva Premiership clash, kick-off…

Maro Itoje

Potgieter to lead Warriors against Wasps

Flanker Dewald Potgieter will skipper Warriors this Sunday as they take on Wasps in the West Midlands derby at Sixways…

Potgeiter

TEAM NEWS: Gloucester Rugby vs Bristol Rugby

Mark Tainton shuffles the pack ahead of Bristol’s trip to Gloucester on Saturday (4.30pm KO). The Acting Head Coach makes…

Adrian Jarvis

Horwill and Roberts return for Harlequins

Harlequins has announced the team to play Newcastle Falcons in Round 10 of the Aviva Premiership at Kingston Park on…

Jamie Roberts

Newcastle Falcons team to face Harlequins

Evan Olmstead returns from international duty as Newcastle Falcons make three changes for Sunday’s Aviva Premiership visit of Harlequins to…

Evan Olmstead