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Hardwick handed keys to ‘fast team’ at Cardiff

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Leicester Tigers fly-half Tom Hardwick has shared his excitement at being selected in the ‘fast team’ to take on Cardiff Blues in the second round of the European Challenge Cup.

The 20-year-old is one of 13 Tigers Academy graduates included in Geordan Murphy’s matchday squad for this Saturday’s fixture at Cardiff Arms Park, and Hardwick described the team as a combination of up-and-coming talent and experienced heads.

“We’re a really fast team,” he told LeicesterTigers.com. “I think it’s a great blend of experience and youth.

“We’re going to try and put on a great show for the travelling supporters, stick to what we believe in, and play hard.

“The momentum heading into Saints away next week is very important, so if we can put in a good performance it’ll benefit the whole squad and start to get the ball rolling.”

The game marks Hardwick’s second start of the season in the No10 shirt – after the win away at Bath in the Premiership Rugby Cup – with most of his appearances so far at centre outside summer signing Noel Reid.

“I’ll go wherever Geordie wants me,” Hardwick continued, when asked which slot suits him best. “The role doesn’t change too much, just communication to different players.

“At 10 I’m organising the team a bit more, and at 12 it’s about talking to the players inside and outside me trying to get that wide channel sorted out.

“There’s not that much to change, just little details.”

And that’s exactly what the young fly-half has been working on at Oval Park, with the help of senior colleagues George Ford and the aforementioned Reid.

He continued: “We all do little stations together where me, Sam Costelow and Johnny McPhillips can pick up knowledge from George and Noel.

“They’re the older players and very experienced, so we just try and take on as much of that as we can, and put it into our games.

“George is one of the best players in the world, so anything you can get off him is going to benefit you as a player and a person as well.

“With the World Cup boys being away it’s given me the opportunity to step up and play some big games, like this one.

“Hopefully I can keep pushing forward, starting with Cardiff on Saturday night.”