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Fantastic full house for Tigers Academy

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It has been a successful summer for the Leicester Tigers Academy as players have made their mark at all levels with international squads from under-16s to the British & Irish Lions.

The international season draws to a close on Saturday when the Lions play the third and final Test with South Africa in Johannesburg.

Tom Croft, who became the first Tigers Academy graduate to play for the Lions, is named alongside fellow Academy old boy Harry Ellis in the matchday 22 as the season reaches its climax.
They have been joined by a host of Tigers Academy graduates and prospects on international duty this summer, including Sam Vesty who capped a fine second half to 2008/09 with his first England cap, playing alongside Louis Deacon and Lewis Moody who also came through the ranks.

Academy graduates Dan Cole and Matt Smith were in the England Saxons squad that reached the Churchill Cup Final in the USA, while Ben Youngs, Jack Cobden, Will Hurrell and Greig Tonks helped England Under-20s to the final of the World Junior Championships in Japan.

Add to that players representing England at under-18 and under-16 level, and Academy manager Neil McCarthy says it has been a pleasing summer.

McCarthy said: “Across the board, in terms of England, the Academy has players in every team that is going out, from Sam Vesty getting his first cap against Argentina through to the Saxons, and the younger groups down to Charlie Walker playing for England Under-16s. That is a great record and, of course, we are very proud that Tom Croft and Harry Ellis came through the Academy set-up here and are now making their mark with the Lions.”