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Richard Cockerill: Tom Croft ready for England and Lions duty

Last updated: 2nd March 2013  

Richard Cockerill: Tom Croft ready for England and Lions duty

Tom Croft in action against Sale

He is a good enough player to go and play. He has played two full games now and if England needed him I'm sure he would be ready to go and do a job.

Richard Cockerill
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Leicester boss Richard Cockerill says flanker Tom Croft is ready for England duty after his superb display against Sale.

Croft, making just his fifth start this season since returning on January 4 from a neck operation, was at the heart of almost everything as the Tigers won 48-10.

It was the first time the Lions star has played back-to-back games this term too, but Cockerill says he is fit enough to feature in England's Six Nations run-in if required.

He said: "He is a good enough player to go and play. He has played two full games now and if England needed him I'm sure he would be ready to go and do a job.

"Tom's attitude has been outstanding and he has used the time when he has not been playing to deal with his contact work and his conditioning.

"With 15 minutes to go he was wanting a bit of oxygen but he works to the maximum all the time."

Asked whether Croft could make the Lions tour, Cockerill said: "It depends how we play to the end of the season.

"If we keep ourselves in the play-off mix and we go to Toulon (in the Heineken Cup) and Tom is outstanding in that company, there is an opportunity for him to go on the Lions tour.

"I'd have no hesitation in saying that Tom is ready to go and play a Test match next week. He has worked really hard and been patient and we are now getting the rewards."

Warning

Sale boss Steve Diamond warned his side that they will be relegated unless they improve.

He said: "We are really disappointed with the performance. We came here with what we thought was a competitive side and were drilled. I don't know why. Sometimes it happens. We have to look at ourselves and regroup.

"We have to win two or three games and put in better performances than today, otherwise our position will be justified.

"We have been in the Premiership since it began and we want that to continue. We will fight tooth and nail."

Sale may be thrown a lifeline if London Welsh are deducted points for fielding an ineligible player at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.

Diamond said: "All the sides understand the severity of what is happening. Due process will take care of that on Tuesday. It's out of our hands. But if we play like we did today we won't win another game."

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 5th September
Aviva Premiership
19:45Northampton vs Gloucester
Saturday 6th September
14:00Sale vs Bath
14:00Saracens vs Wasps
15:00Leicester vs Newcastle
16:30London Irish vs Harlequins
Sunday 7th September
14:00London Welsh vs Exeter
Friday 12th September
19:45Harlequins vs Saracens
Saturday 13th September
15:00Gloucester vs Sale
15:00Bath vs London Welsh
15:15Exeter vs Leicester
Sunday 14th September
14:00Wasps vs Northampton
15:00Newcastle vs London Irish
Friday 19th September
19:45Gloucester vs Exeter
Saturday 20th September
14:00Sale vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Saracens
15:15Bath vs Leicester
Sunday 21st September
14:00Newcastle vs Northampton
Friday 26th September
19:45London Welsh vs Gloucester
Saturday 27th September
15:00Leicester vs London Irish
15:00Saracens vs Sale
15:15Northampton vs Bath
Sunday 28th September
14:00Wasps vs Newcastle
14:00Exeter vs Harlequins
Friday 3rd October
19:45Bath vs Saracens

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